Russia hails 'successful' first day of invasion
Rouble hits record low
US President Joe Biden speaking now
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been seized by Russian forces, as their troops continue to advance on Kyiv.
"It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” said an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office.
"This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today," Mykhailo Podolyak said.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said: "This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe."
It comes as Russia claims it has destroyed "over 70 military targets", including 11 airfields, since launching its invasion overnight.
Follow the latest updates below.
Putin chose this war, says Biden
"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now, he will bear the consequences," says Mr Biden.
"Every asset they have in America will be frozen,” President Biden says, of Russian oligarchs linked to the Russian government.
US President Joe Biden is speaking
"We have been warning of this for weeks. It is unfolding largely as we predicted," US President Joe Biden says.
"We have been transparent with the world and shared declassified plans so there can be no accusations of a cover up about what Vladimir Putin has been doing," he adds.
He will shortly announce a new wave of sanctions to hit Russia in the long term, while minimising the impact on Americans.
Slovenian PM calls for Ukraine to join EU by 2030
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Thursday he supported most hard-hitting sanctions against Russia that was possible to agree among EU countries and that Ukraine should join the bloc by 2030.
"We woke up in a different Europe, a different word today. Speaking of sanctions as we know from history is not enough," Janza said on arriving to emergency talks among EU national leaders to agree how to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine.
"If the space of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law is not enlarging, somebody else is," he said, in calling for Kyiv to get "a real European perspective".
He said Germany's decision to halt Nord Stream 2 was a game-changer but that EU should go much further in new sanctions against Russia to make sure it pays a bigger price than after fighting a brief war with Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Downing Street lit up in Ukrainian colours
Tonight, Downing Street has been bathed in blue and yellow lighting in support of Ukraine.
— Nick Eardley (@nickeardleybbc) February 24, 2022
Canada sanctions 58 Russian individuals and entities
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced sanctions against 58 Russian individuals and entities in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, which he called "a massive threat to security and peace around the world."
"Today in light of Russia's reckless and dangerous military strike, we're imposing further severe sanctions," Mr Trudeau told a news conference.
The sanctions will target members of the Russian elite and their families, the Wagner group - a private military company - as well as Russian banks, he said, adding that Canada was also cancelling export permits for Russia.
More detail on Chernobyl attack
Russian troops took over the power plant while Ukrainian forces battled them on three sides.
Some Russian military massed in the Chernobyl "exclusion zone" before crossing into Ukraine earlier today, a Russian security source told Reuters.
Russia wants to control the Chernobyl nuclear reactor to signal Nato not to interfere militarily, the same source said.
The Chernobyl disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe in 1986 after a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the atomic plant.
Decades later, it became a tourist attraction. About a week before the Russian invasion the Chernobyl zone was shut down for tourists.
"Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted shortly before the power plant was captured.
"This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe."
Germany says Russia will not win in Ukraine
German chancellor Olaf Sholz has pledged that Vladimir Putin will not be allowed to win in Ukraine in a televised national address, Justin Huggler reports from Berlin.
“Putin wants to turn back time. But there is no going back to the Cold War era, no going back to 1989,” a sombre Mr Scholz told Germans.
“We warned Putin against a war. I told him clearly: this war is a serious mistake. Putin ignored all warnings and efforts. He alone bears full responsibility for it.
“Putin will not win. Europe's future will be one of peace and freedom. We will ensure that.”
Mr Scholz announced earlier this week the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not be allowed to go into operation in the wake of Russian aggression.
On Thursday he pledged to work with Germany’s allies to ensure Russia “pays a high price. “Germany and its allies know how to protect themselves. We act as one,” he said.
US Secretary of State stands with Europe
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State has tweeted: "The United States and EU stand together in strongly condemning Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine. Together with partners around the world, we will impose severe costs to hold Russia to account."
Biden could launch cyberattacks on Russia
US President Joe Biden has been presented with a menu of options to carry out cyberattacks to disrupt Russia's ability to sustain its military operations in Ukraine, NBC News reported on Thursday, citing four people familiar with the deliberations.
NBC News reported that the options presented to Biden include disrupting internet connectivity across Russia, shutting off electric power, and tampering with railroad switches to hamper Russia's ability to re-supply its forces.
No final decisions have yet been made, according to the report.
The President is due to speak at 1:30pm local time in Washington, which is 6:30pm in the UK.
Protests in Moscow
Quite remarkable scenes in Moscow as hundreds of people take to the streets to protest the invasion.
The Telegraph's Nataliya Vasilyeva says: "I have not been to a protest in Russia where I saw so many women crying or on the verge of tears because of what happened."
Russians know they’re being dragged into a criminal war. This is extraordinary courage. https://t.co/Q5md0wNxpe
— Tom Tugendhat (@TomTugendhat) February 24, 2022
Russian military says first day of Ukraine invasion 'successful'
Russia said Thursday that its military had achieved its goals set out for the first day of its invasion of Ukraine, after launching the attack despite warnings of sweeping Western sanctions.
"All of the tasks assigned to the groups of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for the day were successfully completed," Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Chernobyl captured, according to reports
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been captured by Russian forces, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Thursday.
"It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians," he said.
"This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today," Podolyak said.
US diplomats moved to Poland
A core team of US personnel who had moved from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv are now 'temporarily' working from Poland, a State Department spokesperson said on Thursday, but did not provide a time frame on when they would return to Ukraine, as Russia launched a full-scale invasion on the country.
"We will continually assess the security situation to determine when it may be safe for US government personnel to return to Ukraine," a State Department spokesperson said
MoD provides update
Strikes have been delivered through “a combination of Russian ground, air and sea-launched missiles and by artillery bombardment” and have targeted military infrastructure, the MoD has said in an update.
Heavy casualties have been suffered on both sides, the ministry said, although exact numbers are currently unclear.
We can confirm the following developments in Ukraine: pic.twitter.com/5cDzA0qxID
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) February 24, 2022
'We are on your side' says PM to Ukraine
Boris Johnson concluded his statement to MPs by declaring "Glory to Ukraine".
"To our Ukrainian friends, in this moment of agony, I say that we are with you and we are on your side," he said.
"Your right to choose your own destiny is a right that the United Kingdom and our allies will always defend."
PM will try and shield UK from economic consequences
The Prime Minister said the Government would try to insulate Britons from the effects of the conflict, including the rising cost of living.
"I warned that this invasion would have global economic consequences and this morning the oil price has risen strongly," he said.
"The government will do everything possible to safeguard our own people from the repercussions for the cost of living. And of course we stand ready to protect our country from any threats including in cyberspace."
Russian economy suffering hugely, says PM
Mr Johnson celebrated the economic effects in Russia of Putin's decision to invade.
"So far today, Russian stocks are down by as much as 45 per cent, wiping $250 billion from their value in the biggest one-day decline on record," he said.
"Sberbank, Russia's biggest lender, is down by as much as 45 per cent and Gazprom down by as much as 39 per cent, while the ruble has plummeted to record lows against the dollar.
"We will continue on a remorseless mission to squeeze Russia from the global economy, piece by piece, day by day and week by week."
Sanctions will constrain Russia for years to come
Mr Johnson said the UK's range of sanctions would "constrain Russia's military industrial and technological capabilities for years to come".
"Overall we will be imposing asset freezes on more than 100 new entities and individuals on top of the hundreds that we've already announced," the Prime Minister told MPs.
"This includes all the major manufacturers that support Putin's war machine. Furthermore, we are also banning Aeroflot from the UK.
"Next, on top of these financial measures and in full concert with the United States and the EU, we will introduce new trade restrictions and stringent export controls similar to those that they in the US are implementing. we will bring forward new legislation to ban the export of all dual use items to Russia."
Largest sanctions Russia has ever seen
Mr Johnson said the UK and its allies have decided to crack down on Russians in the West.
"At the G7 meeting this afternoon we agreed to work in unity to maximise the economic price that Putin will pay for his aggression and this must include ending Europe's collective dependence on Russian oil and gas that has served to empower Putin for too long," he said.
"I welcome again Chancellor Schultz for his excellent decision to halt the certification of Nord Stream 2.
"Countries that together comprise about half the world economy are now maximising economic pressure on one that makes up a mere 2 per cent.
"For our part today. The UK is announcing the largest and most of your package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen," he said.
The sanctions will apply to Russia and Belarus.
Putin was determined to invade, says PM
Boris Johnson says Mr Putin "spurned the best efforts" of the West to avoid bloodshed.
"For this, Putin will stand condemned in the eyes of the world and of history," he told MPs.
"He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands. and although the UK and our allies tried every avenue for diplomacy until the final hour, I'm driven to conclude that Putin was always determined to attack his neighbour, no matter what we did.
Putin is a 'blood-stained aggressor' says PM
"This must in failure," says Mr Johnson, who says Vladimir Putin is a "blood-stained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest."
He was "always determined to attack his neighbour, no matter what we did", the Prime Minister told MPs.
He says that Europe must end its reliance on Russian energy and announces that Aeroflot will be banned from the UK.
Boris Johnson speaks in the Commons
Ukrainians are launching a fierce defence of their country, says Boris Johnson.
He adds that Vladimir Putin will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands.
EU leaders to agree on sanctions with 'massive consequences' for Russia
European Union leaders meeting on Thursday will agree to impose further sanctions on Russia that would have "massive and severe" consequences for Moscow, according to a draft of their summit conclusions.
"The European Council today agrees on further restrictive measures that will impose massive and severe consequences on Russia for its action, in close coordination with our partners and allies," said the draft, which was seen by Reuters.
"The European Council calls for the swift preparation of a further sanctions package that will also cover Belarus," it added.
UKraine calls for no-fly zone
Ukraine's ambassador to the UK has called on Nato to impose a no-fly zone over his country as he said "people are dying as we speak" in the pushback against Russia.
Vadym Prystaiko, in a briefing with journalists in London, said Ukraine needed "something which only Nato can provide" to help the state defend itself against Russian forces.
Mr Prystaiko told reporters that Russian tanks had been destroyed on Thursday using anti-tank weaponry provided by the UK, and he said: "At this moment, we have enough people, we don't have enough equipment."
But he said: "We should have started (to prepare) much earlier, maybe decades ago."
"That's why we've been trying to get into Nato (for) all these years," he said.
"Because we always believed this would come."
Mr Prystaiko's call comes after Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Defence Committee, said Nato should not rule out "the formation of a potential no-fly zone".
CNN face-to-face with Russian army
There was a remarkable moment earlier today when CNN reporter Matthew Chance approached what he thought were Ukrainian troops, only to find out they were Russian and had taken the airport he was outside.
CNN's Matthew Chance reports from an airbase outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, where Russian airborne troops are engaged in a fire fight with the Ukrainian military https://t.co/TaPomIUP26 pic.twitter.com/rSye7nzmbi
— CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2022
Russia has attacked hospitals, says Ukrainian ambassador to US
Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian ambassador to US, says Russia has attacked hospitals in Ukraine and a fight is ongoing for control of the Chernobyl nuclear station, reports Josie Ensor.
She says that a Russian platoon from the 74th Motorised Brigade has surrendered to Ukraine’s forces. She added that the Russian troops apparently had been unaware they were being sent to kill Ukrainians.
"We do not expect anyone to fight for us, but we expect all the help and all the response the West can send to us. I don't think any normal person would believe that something like this to this magnitude will actually be carried out in the 21st century against an independent country".
In pictures: Ukrainians flee Kyiv
Ukrainian ambassador to US: Russian platoon surrendered because they did not think they would be fighting Ukrainians
Speaking in Washington, Oksana Markarova said: "Kyiv is fully in control, and we have captured two helicopters... have been shot outside of Kyiv"
"There is an ongoing fight in Hostomol airport,” she added.
Zelensky: EU to impose more 'tough' sanctions on Russia
A package of additional tough sanctions against Russia from the EU is approaching. Discussed all the details with @EmmanuelMacron. We demand the disconnection of Russia from SWIFT, the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and other effective steps to stop the aggressor.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
G7: Ukraine crisis a 'serious threat' to global stability
The Group of Seven most industrialised nations condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine as an "unprovoked and completely unjustified attack", saying it jeopardised global stability.
"This crisis is a serious threat to the rules-based international order, with ramifications well beyond Europe," the G7 leaders said in a statement.
"This has fundamentally changed the Euro-Atlantic security situation," they added.
Liz Truss berates Russian ambassador and 'kicks him out of grumpy meeting'
Moscow's ambassador to the UK was berated by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who told him the invasion of Ukraine had made Russia an "international pariah" that would suffer vast costs.
Ms Truss was understood to have kicked out Andrei Kelin after he repeated the Kremlin's propaganda during what was characterised as a "very grumpy meeting" today.
The Foreign Office said Ms Truss told Mr Kelin to expect "severe sanctions" against Russia as she accused the country he represents of having "repeatedly lied".
Mr Kelin had been summoned to Whitehall for a dressing down for the second time in a week after the Kremlin began an assault on Ukraine that is feared will amount to an all-out invasion.
According to a Foreign Office statement, Ms Truss told him that Russia must expect a "long, protracted conflict that would inflict a huge human, economic and political cost on the Russian government".
"The Foreign Secretary said the Russian government had repeatedly lied about having no plans to invade Ukraine, and its unprovoked aggression had made it an international pariah," it added.
MoD: Russian troops in Belarus are moving towards Kyiv
A Ministry of Defence intelligence update at 4pm said Russian troops based in Belarus were moving towards Kyiv.
The update said: "Russia has conducted an air assault on an airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv" and that "strikes have been delivered through a combination of Russian ground, air and sea-launched missiles and by artillery bombardment".
The update said the strikes had targeted military infrastructure - especially command and control and air defence installations - and that the Ukrainian forces had "put up a staunch resistance and continue to hold key cities".
But it added that "heavy casualties have been suffered on both sides, although exact numbers are currently unclear".
Ukrainian President says Russia has captured an airfield near Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to retake an airfield close to Kyiv that was captured by Russian forces.
"Enemy paratroopers have been blocked in Gostomel - our troops have been given the order to destroy them," Mr Zelensky said in a video address.
Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic oppose playing World Cup qualifiers in Russia
Russia should not be allowed to host World Cup qualifiers next month after Moscow invaded Ukraine, the football associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic said today.
"We expect FIFA and UEFA to react immediately and to present alternative solutions regarding places where these approaching playoff matches could be played," they said in a joint statement.
Ukrainian President warns of new 'iron curtain' falling as Russian troops advance
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine was listening to the sound of a new iron curtain falling as Russian troops advanced across his country's territory and warned that other European countries may be next.
"What we have heard today are not just missile blasts, fighting and the rumble of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain, which has come down and is closing Russia off from the civilised world," Mr Zelensky said.
"Our national task is to make sure this curtain does not fall across our land."
Russian police start detaining protesters at anti-war rally in Moscow
Russian police have started detaining people at Pushkin Square in central Moscow at an anti-war protest, the RIA news agency has reported.
Reuters report that police have cordoned off the site of the protest.
Ukrainian foreign minister says those who doubt whether Russia should be banned from SWIFT banking system have 'blood on their hands'
I will not be diplomatic on this. Everyone who now doubts whether Russia should be banned from SWIFT has to understand that the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will be on their hands too. BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 24, 2022
Russia intends to 'decapitate' Ukraine government, says US defence official
The Russian invasion of Ukraine intends to decapitate the country's government and install a new leadership allied to Moscow, a senior US defence official said today.
"They have every intention of basically decapitating the government and installing their own means of governance," the official said.
Ukrainian ambassador: Nato ‘only forces in the globe who can stop the mighty Red Army’
The Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prestaiko has called upon Nato to send troops to Ukraine, saying that “they are the only forces in the globe who can stop the mighty Red Army”.
When asked about the possibility of stopping Putin, he said: “We hope that [Putin] will be stopped. The losses are unbearable already for us.”
“We can say that we should have started much earlier, maybe decades ago, to invest in our army and prepare ourselves.”
“This is why we tried to get into Nato all these years, we always knew this would come.”
Brazil footballers in Ukraine plead for help to leave
A group of Brazilian footballers who play in Ukraine pleaded for help in leaving the country, saying Russia's invasion had left them stranded in a Kyiv hotel where they sought refuge.
"There's no fuel, the border is closed, the airspace is closed. There's no way for us to get out," said centre-back Marlon in the video posted on Instagram, one of 13 Brazilians who play for Shakhtar Donetsk, one of Ukraine's top clubs.
"We're here with our families staying in a hotel because of the situation. We're asking for the Brazilian government to help. That's why we're making this video."
The video shows around 20 people, including the footballers' families, sitting and standing in a room at a Kyiv hotel.
The footballers all play for Shakhtar and Dynamo Kiev. The group included international forward David Neres, who recently signed with Shakhtar from Dutch side Ajax.
Kyiv Mayor declares curfew
The mayor of Ukraine's capital of Kyiv has ordered a curfew in comments shown on television after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.
Lithuania's top grocery chain to remove Russian, Belarussian goods
Lithuania's largest grocery retailer Maxima said it will remove goods of Russian and Belarussian origin from its shelves, and would stop buying goods from these countries, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"We took this decision after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, including from Belarus territory," Maxima spokesperson Ernesta Dapkiene told Reuters.
Goods from Russia and Belarus, mostly alcoholic drinks, accounted for just 1.3 per cent of Maxima's sales.
Ukrainians flee the country
Russia trying to 'seize' Chernobyl - Volodymyr Zelensky
Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the #Chornobyl_NPP. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated. Reported this to @SwedishPM. This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
Czech Republic stops issuing visas for Russians
The Czech Republic has announced it will cease issuing visas for all Russian nationals, becoming the second European nation to do so after Latvia.
Uefa 'strongly condemns' Russian invasion
Uefa "strongly condemns" Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, European football's governing body said in a statement ahead of an emergency meeting will could see this season's Champions League final moved from the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.
"Uefa shares the international community's significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine," the body said ahead of Friday's meeting.
EU summons Russian ambassador
The EU has summoned the Russian ambassador to the European Union to convey its "strongest condemnation" of the attack on Ukraine, the bloc's foreign policy service said in a statement.
Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov was condemned for the "unprovoked, unjustified invasion of Ukraine by armed forces of the Russian Federation" and told to convey to Moscow Brussel's demand for an immediate end to military operations, the statement said.
Anti-Russian protests erupt in London
Explosions seen across eastern Ukraine as Russia launches full scale invasion
Latvia stops issuing visas for Russians
Latvia has announced it will cease issuing visas for all Russian nationals and has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations, the Latvian foreign ministry has said.
Nato forces on the eastern flank
Klitschko brothers appeal for international unity
Brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have issued a video appeal calling for international partners to be united, after Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine by Russia pic.twitter.com/PLXHaLIfB5
— PA Media (@PA) February 24, 2022
Russian forces take Antonov airport just outside Kyiv
Russian troops have taken Antonov airport, situated just 25km outside Kyiv, CNN reports.
Airborne troops were filmed on the ground patrolling the perimeter of the airport after having seized the airport.
A commander told the reporter that they "are now in control" of the airport.
Russian airborne troops have apparently taken Antonov airport outside Kyiv pic.twitter.com/sAq5WQ5KTA
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) February 24, 2022
Ukraine says 100 Russian servicemen killed
Ukrainian Defense Ministry says Russia has experienced around 100 servicemember fatalities
Russian helicopter forced to land
Russia destroys 'over 70 military targets'
Russia has said that its military had destroyed more than 70 military targets including 11 airfields in Ukraine.
"As a result of strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces, 74 Ukrainian military ground facilities were destroyed," said Igor Konashenkov, a defence ministry spokesman, specifying that destroyed facilities included 11 airfields. He said a Ukrainian military helicopter and four drones had also been shot down.
Ukraine begins rationing petrol
Petrol stations in Ukraine have begun rationing fuel at the pump due to the martial law, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
The country's two major chain of petrol stations said on Thursday one car will be allowed only 20 litres each.
"Our company has made a decision to limit services to 20 litres in order to prioritise fuel supplies to emergency services and critical infrastructure," Okko, one of the companies, said in a statement.
Separately, Belarus, one of Ukraine's major supplies, has halted petrol supplies to Ukraine, the chief executive of Ukraine's state-owned energy company said.
Mapped: Track Russia's invasion of Ukraine
After Russian troops began a military invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning, reports began to quickly surface about attacks all over the country.
From shelling in Mariupol, to helicopter air attacks in Kyiv and air strikes in Odessa, the geographical scale of the invasion has rapidly grown.
Izzy Lyons is tracking every Russian strike, which you can keep across here.
Europe urges airlines to take extra care in some Russian airspace
Europe's aviation regulator expanded a safety warning triggered by conflict in Ukraine on Thursday, advising airlines to "exercise caution" when flying through parts of Russian airspace controlled by regional centres in Moscow and Rostov.
In an updated bulletin the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) cited "heightened military activity (and) risk of missiles penetrating into controlled airspace".
Volodymyr Zelensky announces 'anti-Putin' coalition
President Zelensky has announced an “anti-Putin coalition” with the heads of the EU, Austria, France and Turkey which aims to provide “concrete sanctions and concrete assistance for our military”.
The Ukrainian president announced on Twitter that he had spoken to President Macron, Ursula von der Leyen, Recep Erdogan and Chancellor Nehammer, and that they were “waiting for decisive action”.
We are creating an anti-Putin coalition. I spoke with @vonderleyen, @EmmanuelMacron, @karlnehammer and @RTErdogan about concrete sanctions and concrete assistance for our military. We are waiting for decisive action.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
Ukrainian soldiers on front line reveal how Russian invasion started
Moscow warns Russians against joining anti-war protests
Russian authorities have warned anti-war sympathisers from gathering for protests, after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The Investigative Committee in a statement warned Russians of legal repercussions for joining unsanctioned protests related to "the tense foreign political situation".
Joe Biden convenes National Security Council
U.S. President Joe Biden has convened a meeting of the National Security Council this morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine, a White House official said as Russia continued a large-scale invasion of its neighbour.
Uefa 'will move' Champions League final
Uefa "will move" the Champions League final from St Petersburg when they conduct an emergency meeting tomorrow, Reuters and Sky Sports are reporting.
Russia attempts to censor war reporting
The preparation of material concerning the “situation” in Luhansk and Donetsk “must use information and data taken only from official Russian sources”, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media has said.
In a statement on the official website today, the agency has urged that “only Russian official information sources possess and distribute reliable and up-to-date information”.
They said that “over the past few hours there has been a significant increase in case of spreading unverified and unreliable information and informational resources on the internet by mass media”
Russian news agencies have already fallen foul of the press watchdog over reporting of events in Ukraine, with Prospekt Mira - a news organisation based in Krasnoyarsk - announcing on Telegram that they have deleted a news item about explosions in Ukraine “under threat of the site being blocked”.
They said: “Revision (of the article) was necessary to submit to the demands of the supervisory body (Roskomnadzor)”.
Roman Abramovich's jet seen flying from Monaco to Moscow
Roman Abramovich's jet has been tracked online, showing it flying from Monaco to Moscow this afternoon.
— Manu Gómez (@GDarkconrad) February 24, 2022
It comes as a Labour MP has told Parliament that the Russian should not be allowed to own Chelsea during discussions around the Government's response to the Ukraine crisis.
Chris Bryant said the 55-year-old tycoon should be “no longer able to own a football club in this country” on the basis of a document he had obtained.
Mr Bryant said he had seen "a leaked document from 2019 from the Home Office which says in relation to Mr Abramovich – ‘As part of HMG’s Russia strategy aimed at targeting illicit finance and malign activity, Abramovich remains of interest to HMG due to his links to the Russian state and his public association with corrupt activity and practices’."
He added: “‘HMG is focused on ensuring that his link to illicit finance and malign activity are unable to base themselves in the UK and will use the relevant tools at its disposal, including immigration powers to prevent this’.
You can read Tom Morgan's report in full here.
Former president George W. Bush condemns attack
Former President George W Bush condemns Russia’s attack: pic.twitter.com/AinWgajpUG
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 24, 2022
Ukraine calls on all allies to sever diplomatic ties with Russia
Ukraine's foreign minister has called on its allies to sever diplomatic ties with Russia.
Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with Russia. I call on all our partners to do the same. By this concrete step you will demonstrate that you stand by Ukraine and categorically reject the most blatant act of aggression in Europe since WWII.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 24, 2022
Ukraine Defence Minister “a scoundrel” - Alexander Lukashenko
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has called Ukraine Defence Minister Aleksei Reznikov “a scoundrel” in the Belarussian state press.
According to Mr Lukashenko, the Ukrainian military authority had spoken twice with Belarus, with the latter conversation taking place after Mr Lukshenko’s meeting with President Putin. Mr Lukashenko insists that he recommended Mr Reznikov get in contact with Russia, but that Mr Reznikov did not do so, Izvestiia reports.
He said: “Did he call them? He didn’t call. He, knowing that a conflict could begin, didn’t even phone Moscow. Listen, there has been cases in history where Khruschev called Kennedy in the night and they stopped thermonuclear war. But here, you see, it would be difficult to pick up the phone to call. Scoundrel!” President Lukashenko told state-owned news outlet Belarussian Telegraph Agency.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin press secretary Dmitrii Peskov has confirmed today that a telephone conversation has taken place between the Belarussian president and Vladimir Putin about Ukraine, saying the conversation took place in a “working” atmosphere.
EU will host 'refugees' - Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen has said the European Union is prepared and willing to host refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
“Explicit contingency plans are in place to welcome and host immediately those refugees from Ukraine,” she told a press conference in Brussels.
“We hope that there will be as little as possible refugees but we are prepared for them and they are welcome.”
Foreign partners must "come to their senses", says Russia
Russia is open to discussions of the security “initiatives” proposed by Moscow with foreign partners, the head of the Federation Council commission for the defence of Russia state sovereignty Andrei Klimov has said.
“Russia is ready for the negotiation process, but this must be a negotiation of equal partners,” he said in a briefing today, RIA News has reported.
“If our partners come to their senses and come back round to our constructive proposals, I see real prospects”
Russian celebrities condemn war
A myriad of Russian celebrities have spoken out against Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine on social media:
"No war!!!" - wrote football player Fyodor Smolov, adding to the message emoji in the form of the Ukrainian flag and a broken heart
"Fear and pain. NO to War," wrote TV presenter Ivan Urgant
"We are shocked, we are hurt, ashamed...Why is all this happening? Why? There will be no winners if everything continues like this" said actress Ekaterina Varnava
"So that it ends faster, like a bad dream" said figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva
Ukrainian tanks prepare to repel Luhansk attack
Emmanuel Macron vows response 'without weakness' to Russia
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned Russia of an uncompromising response to its attack on Ukraine, which he described as a turning point in European history.
"We will respond without weakness to this act of war, with calm, determination and unity," Mr Macron said in an address to the nation, adding that the events were a "turning point in the history of Europe and our country" that would have "deep and lasting consequences for our lives".
More than '80 strikes' against Ukraine - Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence tweeted: "Russia has today further violated Ukrainian sovereignty. There are no justifications for this."
In an "intelligence update", it said there had been "more than 80 strikes" against targets in Ukraine.
It added that Russian ground forces are advancing across the border "on at least three axes", from the north, east, and south from Crimea.
Attack unlike anything in Europe 'since Second World War' - Charles Michel
Speaking alongside Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel said: “This unprovoked and unjustified attack is unlike anything on European soil since the end of the Second World War.”
“Ukrainian cities have been hit, innocent people killed. Women, men, children are fleeing for their lives.”
“I do not believe that Russian people want war. You do not want to lose your men to a senseless war with another nation.”
Ukraine captures two Russian soldiers
Kyiv claims to have taken two Russian soldiers prisoner, releasing photographs of the alleged capture.
We are bringing a 'massive package of sanctions' - Ursula von der Leyen
Outlining sanctions that will be brought in by the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen said: “This package will include financial sanctions that will harshly limit Russia’s access to” international markets.
“We want to cut off Russia’s technology,” with the aim of “seriously degrading the Russian economy in all areas in the future.”
“It is President Putin who will have to explain this to his citizens.”
This is a 'watershed moment' - Ursula von der Leyen
Speaking alongside Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen says Europe is at a "watershed moment".
“Putin ordered atrocious acts of aggression against a sovereign and independent country and innocent people,” she said.
“What is at stake is not just Donbas, not just Ukraine… but the whole international order.”
“Putin chose to bring war back to Europe.”
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban condemns Russian attack
Hungary condemns Russia's military attack on Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said after a meeting of the security cabinet.
"With our EU and Nato allies, we condemn Russia's military attack," Mr Orban said, adding that Hungary would stay out of the military conflict as the security of Hungarians was the most important.
He said Hungary would provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and was prepared to receive people fleeing Ukraine.
Russia was 'never serious about diplomacy' - Foreign Office
Liz Truss has released a statement via the Foreign Office, saying Russia was "never serious about engaging in diplomacy".
“Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions, which are an egregious violation of international law,” the statement read.
“Today, the Russian government has shown that it was never serious about engaging in diplomacy – focussed only on deceit and furthering their territorial ambitions.”
“We have always been clear there would be massive consequences and a severe cost for any Russian military incursion into Ukraine. As a result of their actions, we will today launch an unprecedented package of further sanctions that we have developed with our international partners.”
Ukraine begins evacuating Moscow embassy
The Ukraine Foreign Ministry has begun evacuating the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, reports Genevieve Holl-Allen.
The temporary charge d’affaires for Ukraine in Russia has also been recalled back to Kyiv for consultations, RIA News reports.
Britain 'will not look away' from Ukraine crisis, vows Boris Johnson
US suspends diplomatic presence in Ukraine
The US has suspended its diplomatic presence in Ukraine, with no US diplomats remaining in country, according to reports.
PM tells Ukraine: 'We are with you'
“Our mission is clear - diplomatically, politically, economically and eventually military…. This must end in failure,” Boris Johnson said in his address.
“For all his bombs, tanks and missiles I do not believe that the Russian dictator will ever subdue the Ukrainians.”
Addressing the concerns of the British puiblic, the Prime Minister went on to say: “We will of course do everything to keep our country safe, we are joined in our outrage by friends and others around the world.”
“We will work with them for however long it takes to make sure the sovereignty of Ukraine is restored.”
“It’s an attack on democracy and freedom in Eastern Europe and around the world. That is a right the UK will always defend.”
'We cannot look away' - Boris Johnson
Continuing his address, the PM said: “We cannot and will not just look away.”
“Today we will agree a massive packages of economic sanctions designed to hobble the Russian economy.”
“Our mission is clear - diplomatically, poltically, economically and eventually military…. This hideous and barbaric ventrure must end in failure.”
'Our worst fears have come true' - Boris Johnson
Speaking to the British public, the Prime Minister said "our worst fears have come true".
“Our worst fears have now come true and all our warnings have proved tragically accurate,” he said.
“He’s attacked a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse.”
“We have Ukrainian friends in this country, neighbours, coworkers. Ukraine is a country which for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy and its right to choose its own destiny.”
Boris Johnson addresses the nation
Boris Johnson is addressing the nation in a pre-recorded address. We will bring you all the latest updates.
Russian forces 'break into Kyiv region'
Ukrainian border guards have said that Russian forces have "broken into the Kyiv region", AFP are reporting.
First refugees arrive in Poland
The Polish press has reported that the first refugees have started to come into Poland, according to Matthew Day in Warsaw.
The newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza wrote that trains from Ukraine arriving in Warsaw are now packed with people fleeing the fighting.
“We travelled first to Kyiv from Kharkov, and now we’re in Warsaw,” said one woman interviewed by the paper, who had left Ukraine along with her partner and three-year-old son. “We’re on our way to Poznan and don’t have a visa, but we’ll think about that once we feel safe.”
Some Ukrainians have also started to cross the country by road.
“We’re going through Poland and on to Cyprus. We’ll stay there until everything calms down,” said Vitalii, at the Medyka border crossing in southern Poland, as he entered Poland with his wife and two children.
Missile lodged in flat in Kharkiv
Uefa to hold emergency meeting
Uefa are to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to "evaluate the situation" concerning Russia's invasion of Ukraine with the former set to host the Champions League final in Saint Petersburg in May.
Uefa said in a statement their executive committee would "take all necessary decisions".
The final of European club football's premier competition is scheduled for May 28.
'No plans' to deploy Nato troops to Ukraine - Jens Stoltenberg
Nato has no plans to deploy troops to Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg has said.
"There are no Nato combat troops at all inside of Ukraine, we have made it clear we don’t have any plans or intensions of deploying Nato troops to Ukraine," he said.
"What we have made clear is that we have already increased and are increasing the presence of Nato troops in the eastern part of the alliance."
Russian helicopters attack military airport near Kyiv
Russian helicopters have attacked Gostomel, a military airport near the capital of Kyiv, and Ukraine downed three of them, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukrainian border officials said that the Russian military was trying to penetrate into Ukraine's Kyiv region and its Zhytomyr region on the Belarusian border and that Russia was using Grad rocket systems.
Confirmed by Ukrainian authorities. A large air assault operation with Mi-8 helicopters on Antonov International Airport in Hostomel. Interior Ministry says Russia has seized control. Very dangerous; it’s just 15 minutes west of the capital ring road. pic.twitter.com/JhlyVktVRC
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 24, 2022
There is a new reality in Europe - Jens Stoltenberg
The Nato Secretary General has warned there is a new reality in Europe after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"This will have some long-term effects on our security, on how we respond, on how Nato is reacting and how our relationship with Russia can evolve," he said.
"We don’t have all the answers today, but there will be a new reality, it will be a new Europe after the invasion we saw today."
"In the coming days and weeks there will come even more, we will further increase and we are increasing our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, and today we activated Nato’s defence plans that gives our military commanders more authority to move forces and to deploy forces when needed," he added.
"We are adjusting our posture our what we do is defensive, is measures and we don’t see any confrontation. We want to prevent conflict and any against a Nato ally country."
Emmanuel Macron to address France
French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation today about Russia's attack on its neighbour Ukraine, his office said.
The French leader had already gathered top officials for a defence meeting and called on Moscow to "end its military operations immediately".
It comes as Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France will "further reinforce all forms of its support to Ukraine" after Russia's attack on its neighbour, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement Thursday.
Paris' top diplomat also condemned "the use of Belarusian territory, authorised by the Lukashenko regime, to carry out this aggression against a sovereign country," referring to Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Russia acting like 'Nazi Germany' - Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has compared Russia's invasion of his country to military campaigns carried out by Nazi Germany during World War II.
"Russia has attacked Ukraine in a cowardly and suicidal way, like Nazi Germany did during World War II," the Ukrainian president said in an online briefing, during which he called on Ukrainians to "go out" and "protest against this war".
Russia 'trying to rewrite history' - Jens Stoltenberg
Continuing at his press conference, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Russia is using force to try to rewrite history and deny Ukraine of its free and independent path."
"Today the North Atlantic Council decided to activate our defence plans at the request of top military commander General Tod Wolters. And it enables us to deploy capabilities and forces, including the Nato Response Force to where we need them."
The secretary general added that Nato has over 100 jets on high alert to protect Nato's airspace as well as "more than 120 allied ships at sea from the high north to the Mediterranean. All this shows that our collective defence commitment."
Peace in Europe 'shattered' - Jens Stoltenberg
Nato Secretary general has said peace in Europe has been "shattered", reports our Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of Nato ambassadors, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Peace on our continent has been shattered, we now have war in Europe on a scale and on a type we thought belonged to history."
"Despite its litany of lies, denials and disinformation, the Kremlin’s intentions are clear for the world to see. Russia’s leaders bear full responsibility doe row reckless actions on the lives lost."
UK 'on alert' for cyber attacks - Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel said officials were on alert for cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns from Moscow as Russia invades Ukraine.
She tweeted: "Russia's unjustified and unjustifiable attack on a democratic sovereign nation makes this a dark day in Europe. The people of Ukraine have our unwavering support."
"As we monitor developments, we will be especially mindful of the potential for cyber attacks and disinformation emanating from Russia."
"Be in no doubt there is work ongoing across government 24/7 to maximise our resilience to any such attacks, which would be met with a suitably robust response."
Ukrainian military mobilised in Kyiv
Ukraine president vows to issue weapons to 'anyone who wants one'
Operation will last 'as long as necessary' - Kremlin
The Kremlin has said its operation in Ukraine will last "as long as necessary".
In a statement, Moscow said it aims to "demilitarise" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine and they are not talking about an occupation of the country.
It added that Vladimir Putin has made clear his goal of Ukraine having neutral status and refusing to deploy offensive weapons.
The statement went on to say that Russia "cannot be shut off behind an iron curtain".
The Kremlin believes Russians will "support" Moscow's military operation in Ukraine and that a "solid majority" of Russians support Moscow's recognition of east Ukraine's rebels.
Olaf Scholz says Vladimir Putin 'jeopardising peace in Europe'
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had put the security of Europe at risk by invading Ukraine and called an urgent parliamentary meeting to discuss the crisis.
Mr Putin is "endangering the lives of countless innocent people in Ukraine... (and) jeopardising peace in our continent," Mr Scholz said, adding that he will address parliament at a special session on Sunday.
He added that western sanctions would ensure Russia paid a "bitter price" for its attack
Desperate Kyiv residents attempt to flee by bus
Emmanuel Macron calls for Nato summit 'as soon as possible'
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a Nato summit "as soon as possible" after Russia launched an attack on its neighbour Ukraine, his office said.
"The President wishes for a Nato summit to be held as soon as possible, in coordination with our partners and allies," the presidency said, matching calls from Britain and Poland ahead of a press conference later in the day by Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg.
'At least 18 killed' in Odessa missile attack
At least 18 people have been killed in the Ukrainian city of Odessa as a result of a missile attack, regional authorities have announced
Nato to 'beef up' eastern flank
Nato envoys have agreed to beef up air, land and sea forces on its eastern flank near Ukraine and Russia, the Alliance announced in a statement.
"Today, we have held consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty," Nato said after a meeting of the alliance's ambassadors in Brussels.
"We have decided, in line with our defensive planning to protect all allies, to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defence across the alliance. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory."
Boris Johnson to announce 'really intense' sanctions
Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a package of sanctions today that will be “really intense” and “full on” to punish Vladimir Putin for his Ukrainian invasion, The Daily Telegraph has been told.
A government source said the sanctions announcement will be “right at the upper end” of what has been considered by the UK in recent weeks.
Plans to target Russian defence, energy and chemical companies as well as more oligarchs close to the Kremlin have been worked up in coordination with European and US allies.
There is also a plan to lock the Russian government out of raising sovereign debt on UK capital markets, which the Prime Minister hinted at earlier this week.
Some sanctions will be announced today that will come into effect immediately, it is understood. Others will kick in over the coming days. It will be a “drum beat” of sanctions over the coming days, according to a Government source.
UK summons Russian ambassador - Liz Truss
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she had summoned the Russian ambassador to explain Moscow's actions in Ukraine after Russian forces invaded the country by land, air and sea.
"I have summoned the Russian ambassador to meet me and explain Russia’s illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We will be imposing severe sanctions and rallying countries in support of Ukraine," Ms Truss said on Twitter.
Ukraine attack 'an act of great evil' - Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the world's highest-ranking Anglican cleric, has called Russia's attack on Ukraine "an act of great evil".
Welby said the attack was "horrific and unprovoked" in a statement also signed by his number two, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell. Both backed a call by Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace next Wednesday.
Ukraine being hit by 'second wave of missile strikes'
Ukraine is being hit by a "second wave of missile strikes", an advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
It comes as operations at Ukraine's sea ports have been suspended by the country's military, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the president's chief of staff said.
Operations at Ukraine's railroad continue, he added.
Donetsk suspends civilian evacuation
The leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin has announced the suspension of the evacuation of civilians to Russia.
Ukrainian soldiers on the front line
Belarus closes part of its airspace for civilian flights
Belarus has closed part of its airspace for civilian flights, its defence ministry said in a statement on social media.
Belgium wants EU to stop issuing visas to Russians
Belgium wants the European Union to stop issuing visas to all Russian citizens, including students, workers and tourists, the asylum minister said in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine.
"Russia's reckless attack forces us to be careful with Russians wishing to come to Belgium," junior minister for asylum and migration, Sammy Mahdi, said in a statement.
"At the moment, Russians are not welcome here, a general visa ban for Russians should not be a taboo," he said, adding that should affect both short- and long-term stays.
Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has not made any specific comments on the matter so far. He is due to meet the EU's 26 other national leaders later on Thursday to decide on more sanctions against Russia.
Moscow banks running out of foreign currency
Banks in Moscow began to run out of foreign currency on Thursday morning. reports our Russia correspondent Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Two bank branches in Moscow’s south-west visited by the Telegraph did not have any dollars or euros in ATMs or over the counter, and employees said a withdrawal will be available if booked one day in advance.
Russia’s Business FM radio station reported similar issues all over town. Lines to ATMs were seen at several locations in Moscow.
Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, in a statement on Thursday called on Russia not to panic-withdraw funds.
“We are prepared for any developments and we are working on different scenarios to guarantee the security of all funds, assets and interests of our clients,” it said.
Germany offers 'massive help' to Poland in case of refugee influx
Germany has pledged support for its neighbours including Poland in the event of an influx of refugees as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"We are following very closely whether there will be an influx of refugees to our neighbouring countries," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. "We will provide massive help to the affected states - especially our neighbour Poland - should there be a large-scale influx."
Lithuania imposing state of emergency
Lithuania has become the latest country in Europe to impose a state of emergency after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russian army says separatist rebels advancing
The Russian army has said that Moscow-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine are advancing and have gained territory after the Kremlin launched an attack on the country.
Military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told state television that forces of the Donetsk People's Republic gained "up to three kilometres" (1.8 miles) in territory and those of the Luhansk People's Republic "advanced one and a half kilometres."
He added that Russia had "high precision weapons" and that Ukrainian civilians had "nothing to fear."
'Catastrophe for our continent' - Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Russian military action in Ukraine was a “catastrophe for our continent” and he called for an urgent meeting of Nato leaders.
This is a catastrophe for our continent.
I will make an address to the nation this morning on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I will also speak to fellow G7 leaders and I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 24, 2022
Russia providing supporting fire for separatists
Russia's defence ministry has said its armed forces are providing supporting fire to Moscow-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine as they undertook an offensive, the TASS news agency reported.
Moldova to close air space
Moldova has announced it will close its air space. The move follows Ukraine, who overnight closed their own air space.
40 Ukrainian soldiers dead - Kyiv
An adviser to the Ukrainian President's office says more than 40 Ukrainian soldiers are dead and several dozen are wounded.
Earlier this morning, the Ukrainian military claim to have killed "50 Russian occupiers" this morning, shooting down six Russian planes in the process.
Boy killed by shelling in Kharkiv - local emergency services
A boy has been killed after an apartment building was shelled in the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, emergency services have said.
He is among the ten civilians thought to have died on the first morning of the Russian invasion.
Boris Johnson to address the nation this morning
Boris Johnson will address the nation this morning around 11am, according to our Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith. We will bring you all the latest updates here.
'We will issue weapons to anyone who wants one' - Volodymyr Zelensky
The Ukrainian president has vowed to issue weapons to "anyone who wants one" as he addressed the world following tan invasion by Russia.
"We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities."
"We will lift sanctions on all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country as part of territorial defence with weapons in hands."
"We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia. For all those who have not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it is time to go out and protest against the war with Ukraine."
Russian military convoy in Crimea seen moving north
A Russian military convoy in annexed Crimea with the letter "Z" painted on the sides of vehicles was seen driving north towards mainland Ukraine, a witness told Reuters.
A second convoy of military vehicles with the same markings was parked at Krasniperekopsk about 40 km (25 miles) from the boundary between Crimea and mainland Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukrainian military deaths rise to five
The Ukrainian government has confirmed that the death toll of its soldiers today has risen to five.
Boris Johnson to address Parliament
The Prime Minister will give an address to the House of Commons at 5pm today. We will bring you the latest updates and you will be able to watch a live stream at the top of this live blog.
Current state of the Russian invasion
Civilians come under fire in eastern Ukraine
We will unleash full sanctions package - Annalena Baerbock
The world must respond resolutely to Russia's invasion of Ukraine or later pay an even higher price, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said, pledging to unleash a "full" package of sanctions against Russia.
Adding that Ukraine had done nothing to merit Russia's invasion, she addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling him that he would never destroy people's belief in freedom and democracy.
"We woke up in a different world today," Ms Baerbock told reporters. "We will launch the full package of massive sanctions against Russia ... If we do not take a firm stand now, we will pay an even higher price."
Vladimir Putin declares military offensive in Ukraine as invasion starts
Poland advises all citizens to leave Ukraine immediately
Poland has advised all its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately.
"Due to the military operations in Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against any travel to Ukraine. Polish citizens staying in Ukraine should leave its territory immediately," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
A Polish government spokesman said earlier that Polish diplomatic missions in Ukraine would remain open "as long as possible".
Britain 'could be at war' with Russia - former Nato commander
A former Nato commander has warned that Britain could "be at war with Russia" following their invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, General Sir Richard Sherriff said: "Absolutely there is a possibility that we as a nation will be at war with Russia."
"If Russia puts one bootstep across Nato territory we are all at war with Russia - every single member of Nato alliance."
General Sir Richard Sherriff, former Nato commander, says Russia will use 'overwhelming force'
'The Russians don't hang around. They will look to establish overwhelming force.
'This is not just Russia biting off a chunk of Ukraine but a full blown military offensive'
— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) February 24, 2022
Foreign Office advises all British nationals to 'stay indoors'
The Foreign Office has advised British nationals to leave Ukraine immediately if possible, and to "stay indoors, away from windows" if they cannot leave.
The American embassy in Kyiv has also issued a similar warning, urging all Americans in Ukraine to "to shelter in place".
EU condemns 'barbaric attack' on Ukraine
Turkey asked to close shipping straits
Ukraine has asked Nato member Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian ships, Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara said following Moscow launching an invasion against its neighbour, reports our middle East correspondent Campbell MacDiarmid.
Turkey controls the waters linking the Mediterranean with the Black Sea, upon which Russia and Ukraine are coastal neighbours, and under a 1936 agreement Ankara can limit the passage of warships during wartime or if threatened.
"We are calling for the air space, Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to be closed. We have conveyed our relevant demand to the Turkish side. At the same time, we want sanctions imposed on the Russian side," Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar told a news conference in Ankara.
The request puts Turkey in a difficult position as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to manage the crisis without cutting ties with Moscow or Kyiv. While calling Russian actions against Ukraine unacceptable he has opposed sanctions against Moscow.
German military 'powerless to intervene', says army Chief of Staff
The chief of staff of the German army has given a bleak assessment of the situation in a highly unusual post on LinkedIn, reports Justin Huggler from Berlin.
Lt-Gen Alfons Mais said the German military was largely powerless to intervene and claimed politicians had ignored repeated warnings about Putin's intentions.
"In my 41st year of peacetime service I would not have believed that I would have to experience another war," he wrote. "And the Bundeswehr, the army that I am allowed to lead, is more or less blank. The policy options we can offer in support of the Alliance are extremely limited."
"We all saw it coming and were unable to get our arguments through to draw and implement the conclusions of the Crimean annexation. That doesn't feel good! I'm being eaten up!"
Though he was not explicit, Gen Mais appeared to be referring to chronic underfunding under Angela Merkel that has left the German military poorly equipped. German military watchdogs have warned in recent years that underfunding has left the armed forces unable to fulfil their Nato obligations.
Provide us with defensive weapons, begs Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky has urged world leaders to provide defense assistance and help protect Ukraine's airspace from Russia.
Russia v Ukraine: How the military's compare
Here, our Defence and Security Editor Dominic Nicholls, compares the forces of Russia and Ukraine to explore how the conflict could unfold in the coming days.
Belarus leader says his army not taking part
Belarus's leader Alexander Lukashenko has said that his military is not taking part in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, state media reported.
"Our armed forces are not taking part in this operation," Mr Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said. Moscow has stationed tens of thousands of troops in Belarus.
Russian opposition activist calls for anti-war protests
A Russian opposition activist called for anti-war protests in Russian cities on Thursday evening after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine.
"We will be cleaning up this mess for years to come. Not even us. But our children and grandchildren," Marina Litvinovich, the Moscow-based activist, wrote on Facebook.
"All we see is the agony of a dying man. Alas, Russia is in agony."
Crisis will drive up cost of living - Tom Tugendhat
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat has said the cost-of-living crisis will become "driven by war", with gas and food prices in danger of rising much higher than expected.
The Conservative MP told the BBC's Today programme: "The decisions made around Europe are absolutely going to shape the way Vladimir Putin sees this because the reality is that if we leave this to stand, if we let this pass, you can forget about petrol at £1.70 a litre, which is where it's heading now. It will be significantly higher."
He added: "10 per cent of the world's wheat is grown in Ukraine and the idea that this year's going to be a good crop, I'm afraid, is for the birds. This is absolutely one of those moments where we're going to see the cost-of-living crisis driven by war."
In pictures: Civilians in firing line as Russian bombs drop on Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelensky orders military to 'inflict maximum losses'
The head of the Ukrainian military has said he had received orders from President Volodymyr Zelensky to repel a Russian invasion of his country.
"The supreme commander the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave orders to inflict maximum losses against the aggressor," Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny said.
Moldova declares state of emergency
President Maia Sandu has said Moldova will introduce a state of emergency and was ready to accept tens of thousands of people coming in from neighbouring Ukraine.
"We will help people who need our help and support," she said.
Dozens of cars were queuing on the border between Ukraine and Moldova, according to Moldovan media websites.
'Dark day for Europe' - Olaf Scholz
German chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the Russian attack as a blatant breach of international law, reports Justin Huggler from Berlin.
"There's no justification for it," he said, calling on Russia to stop its military action immediately. "This is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe."
"This attack will have serious political and economic consequences for Russia," Robert Habeck, the German vice-chancellor and business minister said. "By attacking Ukraine, Russia is breaking with the most elementary rules of the international order."
Telegraph journalist reports from shelter in Kyiv
Volodymyr Zelensky calls for 'broad coalition'
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke to Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and EU leaders in the morning, are calling for a broad coalition against Vladimir Putin, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
“We’re starting to build an anti-Putin coalition. I have already asked all foreign leaders to use all possible sanctions against Putin, start a massive defence aid relief," he said in a video address.
“Together we need to save Ukraine. Together we need to save the world of democracy.”
Kharkiv under attack, in pictures
Emmanuel Macron condemns Russia
French President Emmanuel Macron has strongly condemned Russia's military action against Ukraine and vowed that Paris would work with allies to try to end the conflict.
"Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations," Macron wrote on Twitter, saying Russia had made the decision to "wage war" on Ukraine.
"France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands by Ukrainians and is working with its partners and allies to end the war," he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for European "unity" in a call with Mr Macron
FTSE 100 falls 3 per cent at open
The London Stock Exchange's leading FTSE 100 index plunged more than 200 points, or 2.7 per cent, within moments of opening in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine military infrastructure 'not seriously damaged'
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the country’s military infrastructure has not been seriously damaged, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
“Most of the airstrikes were launched at 5 a.m. on military infrastructure, airfields, ammunition depots and military command posts,” he told a televised briefing.
“The first strikes failed. There are losses but they did not harm the combat readiness of our forces.”
He said they recorded an “insignificant incursion of up to five kilometers” in the north of the Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions but no major land invasion.
Separatist says their goal is to capture Ukrainian regions
A Russian-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine has said their main objective was to regain control of all the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk where their breakaway territories are located, the Interfax news agency reported.
Mass exodus of Kyiv under way
After the explosions in Kyiv died down at around 5am, Ukrainians ventured out in the streets, some walking their dogs or heading to work, reports James Rothwell from Kyiv. Dozens of camouflaged national guard soldiers were seen standing around in the streets.
At an underground car park beneath a hotel where residents took shelter from the explosions, a pair of young children played with colouring books beside their anxious parents.
Kyiv residents were also seen queuing in large numbers to withdraw cash from ATM terminals and also queued outside shops, waiting for them to open.
Some shops opened despite the chaos, including a cafe, but many were closed this morning.
A mass exodus from Kyiv was already under way, with long queues of cars appearing on the road west, which leads to the city of Lviv.
Alexei Navalny condemns the war
Russia's opposition leader in a court appearance has condemned Russia's war in Ukraine, reports Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Alexei Navalny, who has been in jail for a year and stands trial on new charges, said in court today: "I'm against this war unleashed by thieves and gangsters. I'm asking the court to uphold my motion and declare for the whole world that this fratricidal war is unacceptable."
Mr Navalny made the remarks in a live broadcast of the hearing from the prison colony about 130 kilometres east of Moscow.
Queues form at petrol stations, cash points
Queues formed at cash points and petrol station in Donbas as locals scrambled to respond to news of the invasion, reports our senior foreign correspondent Roland Oliphant.
In Severodonetsk and Bakhmut distant shelling could be heard.
Some Ukrainain forces could be seen moving on the roads, but there was little sense of panic.
The Russians main thrusts appear to have come elsewhere rather than through the heavily defended line of contact.
Emmanuel Macron summons French defence council
President Emmanuel Macron has summoned the French defence council early today in response to Russian attacks on Ukraine, his office said.
The gathering of the council, headed by Macron and featuring a small number of key ministers, is to start at 9:00 am (8.00am London), the Elysee said.
In the UK, Boris Johnson is currently chairing a Cobra meeting in response to the crisis.
Poland calls for emergency Nato consultations
Poland has asked Nato to activate Article 4, which calls for emergency consultations if a member is threatened, after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine.
Poland's ambassador in Brussels, where Nato is based, "submitted a request to the Nato secretary general, together with a group of allies," Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said.
Nato’s organising body, the North Atlantic Council, will hold an emergency meeting this morning to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s Secretary-general, making a public address shortly after the meeting concludes.
Andrzej Duda, president of neighbouring Poland, described the Russian assault as an “unprecedented act of rape on the norms of international law.”
“Russia is excluding itself from the international community.”
Russian ground forces cross into Ukraine: border guards
Russia's ground forces have crossed into Ukraine from several directions, Ukraine's border guard service said, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive.
Russian tanks and other heavy equipment crossed the frontier in several northern regions, as well as from the Kremlin-annexed peninsula of Crimea in the south, the agency said.
It said one of its servicemen died in a shelling attack along the Crimean border, the first officially confirmed military death of the Russian invasion.
Tanks cross into Ukraine from Crimea and Belarus
Oil tops $100 per barrel as Russian stocks collapse
Brent crude topped 100 dollars per barrel after President Vladimir Putin launched Russia’s long-anticipated attack on Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Moscow's Stock Exchange has reopened after plunging almost 14 per cent, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive on Ukraine.
The rouble meanwhile fell by nine per cent to 90 against the US dollar, hitting an all-time low before bouncing back slightly.
You can read the full story on the oil price spike here.
EU put forward "massive" sanctions on Russia
The European Union's chief executive has said she will present "massive" sanctions to the bloc's national leaders for approval later in the day against Russia for invading Ukraine.
"(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told an emergency announcement after Russia fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast.
She said new EU sanctions would block Russia's access to "key technologies and markets" and the Union would also freeze Russian assets in Europe and halt Moscow's access to European financial markets.
"We will weaken Russia's economic base and its capacity to modernise... These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin's interests and on their ability to finance the war."
Russia closes shipping lanes in Azov Sea
Russia has closed the maritime shipping lane between itself and Ukraine in the Azov Sea.
"In connection with the conduct of anti-terrorist activities, shipping in the Azov Sea is suspended from 4.00 am (1am UK) on February 24 until further notice," a representative of the Federal Agency for Maritime Transport Rosmorrechflot told Russian agencies.
It comes after Ukrainian air space was closed amid reports of Russia launching ballistic missiles, targeting various Ukrainian cities including Kyiv.
Wizz Air has cancelled all scheduled flights from Luton to Kyiv today.
West will slap 'unprecedented' sanctions on Russia
The West will impose unprecedented sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin authorised an invasion of Ukraine, British junior foreign minister James Cleverly has said.
"We will be bringing forward ... in close concert with our international friends and allies, an unprecedented sanctions response, coordinated sanctions response, to punish this appalling decision," Mr Cleverly told Sky News.
China rejects the term 'invasion'
China reiterated on Thursday a call for all parties involved in the situation in Ukraine to exercise restraint and rejected a foreign journalist's description of Russia's actions as an invasion.
The comments were made by foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular daily briefing.
Beijing has yet to clarify its position on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, instead claiming that it stands ready to help support peace talks.
“China believes that the door to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue has not been completely closed and should not be closed,” said Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN. “At present, to avoid intensifying conflicts, China will continue to promote peace and talks in its own way.”
Vladimir Putin's war address 'may have been pre-recorded'
Open-source data suggests that Vladimir Putin may have recorded his address declaring an invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, reports our Moscow correspondent Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Metadata on the video of Mr Putin's address suggests that it was recorded no later than 7 p.m. on Monday.
The Russian leader also appears wearing the same suit and tie as he did at Monday's Security Council meeting.
Australia announces 'second phase' of Russia sanctions
Australia hit Russia with a "second phase" of sanctions on Thursday over its assault on Ukraine, the first salvo in an expected battery of new international measures to punish Moscow.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned Russia's "illegal invasion" as he announced sanctions against 25 individuals, four entities involved in developing and selling military gear, and restrictions on four financial institutions.
Invasion follows testy exchange at UN
Today's hostilities follow a heated exchange at last night's emergency session of the UN Security Council in New York between Ukrainian ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya and his Russian counterpart, Vassily Nebenzia.
Mr Kyslytsya became visibly frustrated after pleading with Mr Nebenzia to tell Mr Putin to stop the "aggression", warning him: "There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, ambassador."
Mr Nebenzia retorted: "This isn't war, this is a special military operation".
Questioned by a reporter about Mr Nebenzia's reply afterwards, Mr Kyslytsya said: "You want me to dissect the crazy lunatic semantics of a person whose president violates the charter, whose president declared a war... And you've asked me to interpret? It's lunacy. It's lunacy."
Cobra meeting called for 7.30am
Boris Johnson will chair an early morning Cobra meeting today at 7.30am
Seven Ukrainians dead in air strikes
A Ukrainian official says at least seven people have died in air strikes.
Anton Herashchenk, an advisor to the Interior Minister, said on social media six people were killed and seven injured in an airstrike on a military base outside the Black Sea port of Odessa. One person died and two were injured in shelling in Mariupol.
Britain's ambassador urges all citizens to leave immediately
Britain's ambassador to Ukraine urged UK nationals to leave Ukraine immediately.
Melinda Simmons wrote on Twitter: "We advise GB nationals to leave Ukraine immediately if you judge that it is safe to do so from your location. Please call +380 44 490 3660 if you need assistance."
Ukraine under attack, in pictures
What has happened overnight
Here's what we know so far
Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale invasion in Ukraine
There are reports of multiple attacks in major cities, such as Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv
Russia says it has destroyed Ukrainian military bases and Kyiv says it shot down Russian aircraft
Troops enter in the North, South and East of Ukraine - plus reports of fighting in western Lviv
Mr Putin says in TV address that he wants to 'de-Nazify' Ukraine
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson condemn Russian aggression and promise a response
Watch: Attack from Crimea
Ukraine's Border Guard Service says Russian troops and weaponry attacked Ukraine from the occupied Crimean peninsula earlier this morning, Nataliya Vasilyeva reports.
The Border Guard Service released a video showing tanks, armoured vehicles and trucks driving through the border crossing between Crimea and mainland Ukraine.
'I woke up to an explosion'
A British-Ukrainian student living in Kyiv said she woke up to the sounds of explosions on Thursday morning.
Valentina Butenko is studying politics at University College London, but returned to Ukraine a few weeks ago to offer help with the security crisis there.
"I woke up this morning to the sound of an explosion," the 19-year-old, who has a British mother but was raised in Ukraine, told the PA news agency.
"I live on the outskirts of Kyiv so I expect it must have been pretty huge for me to hear it.
"Have been hearing explosions intermittently since 5am... the sky has lit up a few times although it seems to have calmed down slightly now."
Ms Butenko said "a lot" of people are leaving the Ukrainian capital and roads out of the city are blocked making it "impossible to get out".
Russia 'poses no threat to civilians'
Russia's military insists it is not targeting civilians in Ukraine, Nataliya Vasilyeva reports.
Air strikes were reported across Ukraine on Thursday morning, and Ukrainian authorities said six airports were targeted. Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement its operation "poses no threat to civilians."
"High-precision weapons are used to take down infrastructure, missile defence, military airfields and aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces," it said.
Ukraine's emergency services say Russian troops have captured two villages in eastern Luhansk region.
Pro-Russian separatists who control about one-third of Ukraine's Luhansk region said earlier this morning their forces launched an operation to seize all of the region.
Belarus troops attacking Ukraine
Ukraine's Interior Ministry says troops from Belarus joined Russia in attacking Belarus from its northern border, Nataliya Vasilyeva reports.
The ministry said Ukraine's border with Belarus came under attack with artillery and military equipment at 5am local time by Russian troops supported by Belarusian forces.
Russia held major military drills in Belarus involving a large number of troops and weaponry. that ended over the weekend but its troops never left the country.
Asian stocks plunge as oil soars
Asian stock markets plunged and oil prices surged on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin announced Russian military action in Ukraine.
Market benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul fell 2pc and Hong Kong and Sydney lost more than 3pc.
Oil prices jumped nearly $3 per barrel on unease about possible disruption of Russian supplies.
Boris Johnson: 'Putin has chosen bloodshed'
Boris Johnson said he is "appalled by the horrific events" in Ukraine and that he had spoken to its president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss "next steps".
"I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps," the Prime Minister tweeted.
"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."
I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.
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.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 24, 2022
Zelensky: 'We are ready for everything'
Broadcasting live from his phone, President Zelensky told Ukrainians he would declare nationwide martial law and urged Ukrainians to stay home.
"Don't panic. We are strong," he said, following a phone call with US President Joe Biden.
"We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine.”
Analysis: Putin was never interested in peace
They tried talks. They tried threats. They tried meeting him halfway. They even tried flattery.
However, the combined efforts of an entire cast of Western leaders, led by Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron, could not deter Vladimir Putin from going to war, Roland Oliphant writes.
Why did they fail? Partly because they would not, or could not, give Mr Putin what he was demanding.
Truss condemns 'appalling' attack
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said she condemns Russia's "appalling, unprovoked attack" on Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.
"I strongly condemn the appalling, unprovoked attack President Putin has launched on the people of Ukraine," Ms Truss tweeted.
"We stand with Ukraine and we will work with our international partners to respond to this terrible act of (aggression)."
Trump blames Biden's 'weakness' for invasion
Donald Trump, speaking minutes after the first reports of explosions in Kyiv, attacked Joe Biden.
He told Fox News: "I knew he [Putin] wasn't going to be satisfied with a piece [of Ukraine] and now he sees the weakness, incompetence and the stupidity of this administration.
"As an American I'm angry about it and saddened by it."
Explosions across Ukraine
Explosions rang out before dawn Thursday in Ukraine's capital Kyiv and several cities near the frontline and along the country's coast, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation.
AFP correspondents also heard blasts in the Black Sea port city of Odessa, with police and ambulance sirens heard across the Ukrainian capital city.
Explosions also rang out in Kharkiv, a large city 35 kilometres (20 miles) south of the Russian border.
Four loud blasts rang out in Kramatorsk, a frontline city that serves as the Ukrainian government's effective capital for the eastern war zone, and more were heard in the eastern port city of Mariupol, AFP reporters said.
Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian planes, and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that his country was facing a "full-scale invasion"'.
UK ambassador: 'Wholly unprovoked attack'
Britain's ambassador to Ukraine said a "wholly unprovoked attack" on the country was starting.
"A wholly unprovoked attack on a peaceful country, Ukraine, is unfolding. Horrified," British ambassador Melinda Simmons said on Twitter.
"Just because you’ve prepared and thought about this possibility for weeks and months doesn’t mean it isn’t shocking when it actually happens."
Ukraine urges UN to help stop the war
Ukraine's envoy to the United Nations has urged the Security Council to "do everything possible to stop the war".
Sergiy Kyslytsya said that Russia had declared war and that it was the responsibility of the UN Security Council to stop it.
In extraordinary scenes, Vladimir Putin announced the military operation at the exact moment the council was meeting in New York.
Putin: I want to 'de-Nazify' Ukraine
In a special televised address on Russian state TV, Vladimir Putin said Russia has been left with no choice but to defend itself against what he said were threats emanating from modern Ukraine.
Mr Putin said Russia would respond instantly if any external force tried to interfere and that Moscow would try to de-militarise and 'de-Nazify' Ukraine.
"Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine," said Mr Putin.
"All responsibility for bloodshed will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine."
"No one should have any doubt that a direct attack on our country will lead to defeat and terrible consequences for any potential aggressor."
Biden: 'Prayers of the world' are with Ukraine
Joe Biden has said the "prayers of the world" are with Ukraine.
The US president said he will address Americans on Thursday about the latest developments.
In a statement on Wednesday night, he said: "The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.
"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.
"Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.
"The world will hold Russia accountable."
Reports of shelling in Kharkiv
There are unconfirmed reports of a massive explosion in Kharkiv.
Something massive just exploded in Kharkiv pic.twitter.com/GlKY1S8VbV
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) February 24, 2022
Explosions in Kyiv
A CNN reporter broadcasting live from Kyiv has captured what appear to be explosions in the Ukrainian capital.
you can hear explosions in Kyiv during this CNN live shot pic.twitter.com/biRTRLeFeA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 24, 2022
Breaking: Putin announces 'military operation'
Vladimir Putin has announced a 'military operation' in the Donbas region – effectively declaring war on Ukraine.
In a surprise statement on Russian state TV, Mr Putin called on Ukraine's military to "lay down its arms".
UN Secretary-General urges Putin to 'give peace a chance'
Antonio Guterres, the UN's Secretary-General, has urged Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine.
At another emergency UN security council meeting, Mr Guterres said: "If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say: Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine.
"Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died."
Breaking: Ukraine shuts its airspace
Ukraine has suspended flights of civil aircraft across its airspace.
Flights of aircraft in Ukraine's airspace are "restricted due to potential hazard for civil aviation", according to a notice to airmen issued at 1.56am GMT on Thursday.
The notice is due to expire at 11.59pm on Thursday unless extended. It did not provide further details.
⚠️ Per NOTAM, flights by civil aircraft are now restricted inside Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/vJf6MCWXks
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 24, 2022
'Do not fly': Airspace monitor raises risk level
Airlines should stop flying over any part of Ukraine because of the risk of an unintended shootdown or a cyber attack targeting air traffic control amid tensions with Russia, a conflict zone monitor said on Wednesday.
Safe Airspace, which was set up to provide safety and conflict zone information for airlines after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, said it had increased its risk level to "do not fly".
"Regardless of the actual movements of Russian forces into Ukraine, the level of tension and uncertainty in Ukraine is now extreme," Safe Airspace said on its website. "This itself gives rise to significant risk to civil aviation."
Russia has Issued a Civil Aviation NOTAM closing almost all of Eastern Ukrainian Airspace near the border with Russia No Limit or ending time is currently provided. pic.twitter.com/mLSxUN5XJ6
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) February 23, 2022
Airports closed amid invasion fears
Airports at Dnipro, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine are closed to traffic until Thursday morning, according to notices to airmen issued by local authorities.
No reason was provided for the closures, which are due to end between 5.00am and 6.35am GMT, depending on the airport.
UN resolution doomed to fail
United Nations Security Council members are preparing to put forward a draft resolution on Ukraine that will call out Russia over its actions toward its neighbor, said a Security Council diplomat, but the move is doomed to fail.
It will not be adopted by the 15-member council as Russia is a veto power - along with the United States, France, Britain and China - but it gives Washington and allies a chance to show that Moscow is internationally isolated over its actions on Ukraine.
"We work on the resolution in the Security Council. I hope we can move to action in the next hours or days... and if we cannot succeed in the Security Council we'll go right away to the General Assembly," said the diplomat, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The council will not take any action on a draft resolution at an emergency meeting later on Wednesday, diplomats said.
Today's top stories
Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for peace in a late-night address to the nation on Wednesday, saying Vladimir Putin would not accept his call
The US sent a new intelligence report to Ukraine on Tuesday morning, suggesting a full scale attack was "imminent”
The websites of Ukraine's government, foreign ministry and state security service were down on Wednesday in what Kyiv said was the start of another massive cyberattack on the country
Ukraine has declared a state of national emergency, in response to the growing threat of a Russian invasion
Russian forces have prepared a mobile crematorium for use in any future conflict with Ukraine in what Britain’s Defence Secretary has described as “chilling”
The leaders of Ukraine's two separatist regions asked Vladimir Putin for help fighting Ukrainian army "aggression" on Wednesday, according to the Kremlin
Britain will send more weapons to Ukraine in response to Russia’s “increasingly threatening behaviour”, Boris Johnson has confirmed