Gunfire, explosions heard in Kiev moments after Putin declares invasion of Ukraine

Gunfire and explosions could be heard in Kiev shortly after Vladimir Putin announced the start of a Russian military operation against Ukraine on Thursday morning, local and international media reported.

Reports of explosions or gunfire are coming in from at least five places in Ukraine or near the Russian border, including Kiev, Kramatorsk, Odess, Kharkhov, Berdyansk, and near the Boryspil Airport.

Russia conducted missile airstrikes on Ukrainian military command centres in the cities of Kiev and Kharkiv, the Ukrainska Pravda news website cited a Ukrainian interior ministry official as saying on Thursday.

Some gunfire was heard on Thursday near the main airport of Boryspil in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, the Interfax news agency said, citing local media, shortly after Ukraine suspended its airspace because of “potential hazard to civil aviation”. The airport has now cancelled all flights.

Blasts also rattled the Belgorod province of Russia bordering Ukraine, a witness told Reuters. And more explosions were heard in Kharkiv, in the country’s northeast.

A series of distant loud noises, which were called similar to the firing of artillery, were heard by witnesses in Kiev, reported Reuters.

Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed the nation early morning on Thursday, announcing that the Kremlin had decided to carry out a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine.

“The situation requires us to take decisive, swift action,” Mr Putin, adding that Moscow plans…

READ FULL STORY AT independent.co.uk

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