The day Putin invaded Ukraine

After months of escalating rhetoric and a gradual buildup of Russian troops, Vladimir Putin announced an invasion of Ukraine in an early-morning television address on Thursday. He called it a “special military operation” and it amounted to an attack on land and in the air on several fronts.

In Kyiv, Luke Harding tells Michael Safi that despite all the warnings of an impending attack, the military action has come as a deep shock to the city. Emma Graham-Harrison ditched a plan to reach the southern city of Mauripol to return to the capital as Russian forces advanced towards it. In the western city of Lviv, Peter Beaumont says it quickly became clear that this would not be an attack limited to the eastern Donbas region but something far more significant.

In Moscow, the Guardian’s Andrew Roth describes a country in the grip of its president as Putin moves forward with his plan with little or no opposition. Despite describing Ukraine as a brother to Russia with deep social and historical ties, Roth says it feels like a day of fratricide.

Smoke rises from the territory of the Ukrainian defence ministry's unit in Kyiv<br>Smoke rises as a fire burns on the premises of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's unit, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022 in this screen grab taken from a live video. Reuters TV/via Reuters

Photograph: Reuters Tv/Reuters

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