Why has Russia attacked Ukraine?

Russia has finally launched its long-feared “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in a televised address to his citizens in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Explosions were reported soon afterwards on the outskirts of the cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, as well as the capital Kiev, prompting many Ukrainians to form queues at supermarkets, ATMs and petrol stations in preparation for weathering the siege or attempting to flee.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said the government is introducing martial law on all territories of the state and urged citizens to stay at home as much as possible.

Meanwhile the country’s airports have been shut down temporarily and secured against potential Russian aircraft landings while Russia has closed its own airspace around the border to civilian access for the next four months.

Tensions in Eastern Europe have rumbled on since December when Russia stationed an estimated 130,000 soldiers along its western border and then another 30,000 in Belarus, consistently denying it had any attention of making incursions into Ukraine.

Frantic diplomatic negotiations were pursued by the likes of US secretary of state Antony Blinken, French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and UK foreign secretary Liz Truss in the hoping of averting calamity but ultimately appear to have come to nothing.

The situation escalated drastically on Monday when Mr Putin moved…

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