Russia-Ukraine recap: What we know so far

Michael Crimmins, Investigative Reporter

Russia’s military launched an invasion of Ukraine by “land, air and sea” on Thursday morning, according to CNN.

Ukrainian officials have said roughly 40 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed in Russian attacks so far, with “roughly more than 100 Russian-launched missiles of various types [launched at Ukraine],” a senior US defense official said Thursday.

Early Thursday morning, local time, Russian troops were dropped at the airport in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said they are staging a counterattack after defending forces retreated from “fierce fighting,” CNN reports. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky moved to enact martial law while accusing Moscow of launching a “full scale invasion,” according to the CNN article.

Heavy traffic heading west out of Kyiv could be seen in the early morning as many try to flee from the conflict, according to CNN.

“There is no justification for any of this — this is Putin’s war,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in Berlin. “In attacking Ukraine, the Russian President Putin is blatantly infringing on international law [and it is a] terrible day for Ukraine and a very dark day for Europe.”

This sudden escalation has led many European countries to condemn the actions of Russia.

Sholz said NATO and the G7 would meet to coordinate their response on Thursday, according to a different CNN article.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Tweet that this situation is “catastrophic” for Europe and is planning on further sanctioning Russia.

Johnson told parliament that Russia will pay the “maximum economic price” as he introduces more sanctions targeting Russian banks, Reuters reports.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, who has led a majority of the de-escalation effort, reacted to the news showing support for Ukraine, according to CNN.

“France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands with Ukrainians and is working with its partners and allies to end the war,” he said in a Tweet Thursday.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the Russian attack and is set to present “massive” sanctions for approval Thursday, according to CNN.

“These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin’s interests and their ability to finance war, and we know that millions of Russians do not want war,” she added.

Outside of the European response, U.S. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Russia in his address to the nation on Thursday.

“At the very moment the U.S. Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine and stave off invasion, Putin declared his war,” Biden said. “Within moments, missile strikes began falling on cities of Ukraine.”

The new sanctions included four more Russian banks holding one-third of their assets in Western markets, Biden said in the speech.

“That means every asset they have in America will be frozen,” Biden said. “This includes ETV, the second largest bank in Russia, which has $250 billion in assets.”

Biden also added more Russian individuals and their families to the list of entities sanctioned.

“These are people who personally gain from the Kremlin’s policy and they should bear in the pain,” Biden said. 

In addition to banks and individuals, the U.S. is also adding Russian businesses to the sanction list.

“Some of those powerful impacts of our actions will come over time as we squeeze Russia’s access to finances and technology for strategic sectors of its economy and degrade its industrial capacity,” Biden said.

Biden re-emphasized that American forces will not be sent to fight Russian forces.

“Our forces are not going into Europe to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO allies and to assure those allies in the East,” Biden said. “The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power.” 

Biden spent the last portion of the speech reassuring citizens that he is using “every possible tool” to limit the impact of sanctions on our economy.

“America stands up to bullies,” Biden said. “This is who we are. I also want to repeat a warning I made last week; if Russia engages in cyberattacks against our companies, or critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond.”

Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, said it is a tense situation, but he stands against the Russian invasion, according to CNN reports.

“We will continue to work in collaboration with the international community, including the G7 nations,” Kishida said.

Australia and a handful of African countries offer support and words of warning to Ukraine and Russia, according to CNN.

“The Nigerian position is that dialogue should be prioritized over force,” a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari told CNN Thursday.

China has not come out in support of Russia, though the nation will begin importing Russian wheat to help against Western sanctions, CNN reports.

“[All parties needed to] stay cool headed and rational [and it is] especially important at the moment to avoid fueling tensions,” China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, said. 

Investigative Reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm.