Russia will conduct a military operation in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has confirmed.

In a televised address early on Thursday morning, Mr Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine.

He added that Russia does not have a goal to occupy Ukraine, but said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.

Mr Putin also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.

The Northern Echo: (PA)(PA)

He accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining Nato and offer Moscow security guarantees.

He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarisation” of Ukraine, adding that all Ukrainian servicemen who lay down arms will be able to safely leave the zone of combat.

The announcement came just after airspace over all of Ukraine was shut down to civilian air traffic, and at the same time as an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was taking place.

On Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional televised address in Russian following the approval of a 30-day state-of-emergency order handed the government sweeping powers in the interest of national security.

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we come under attack that threatens our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back,” he said, as he rejected Moscow’s claim Ukraine is a threat to Russia.

UK response to Putin’s announcement

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction” with his attack on Ukraine and that the UK and its allies would respond “decisively”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the Prime Minister will chair a Cobra committee meeting at 7.30am to discuss the response to the “horrific attacks”.


In a statement on Twitter, Mr Johnson said he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss “next steps”.

“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” he said.

“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”