Russia attacks Ukraine

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 9:58 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022
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2:29 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Long lines of cars in Kyiv heading out of Ukrainian capital

(Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
(Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

Photos from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv are emerging of long lines of cars heading out of the city after Russia's attack early Thursday morning. Heavy traffic appears to be all moving west, away from where explosions were heard this morning, with few cars going east.

Earlier Thursday morning, CNN reporters heard explosions coming from the east of the city, in the direction of Boryspil International Airport.

Explosions have also been reported in other parts of Ukraine including Kharkiv and the port city Odessa.

2:07 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine from Crimea

From CNN’s Paul P. Murphy and Josh Pennington

Russian military vehicles have entered Ukraine through Crimea, according to a video released by the Ukrainian Border Guard.

It's unclear which border crossing the vehicles are entering Ukraine from — Chongar in the east or Kalanchak in the west.

Earlier this morning, livestream video from the Belarus border crossing showed a column of troops and military vehicles crossing into Ukraine. The video was shot around 6:48 a.m. local time at the crossing between Senkivka, Ukraine, and Veselovka, Belarus.

The Ukrainian Border Guard told CNN in a statement earlier that their borders were attacked by Russia, and Belarus, "with the use of artillery, heavy equipment and small arms."

2:31 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

UK's Boris Johnson told Zelensky “the West would not stand by” as Russia attacks

From CNN’s Jonathan Hawkins

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call on Thursday that “the West would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people,” according to Downing Street.

Johnson and Zelensky spoke over the phone after Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, according to a statement tweeted by Downing Street.

Johnson told Zelensky on the call that “he was appalled by the unfolding events in Ukraine," said the statement. It added that Johnson hoped “Ukraine could resist,” and that the United Kingdom had Ukrainians in their thoughts "during this dark time."

2:03 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Bitcoin price falls after Russia attacks Ukraine

From CNN's Rob McLean and Michelle Toh

The price of bitcoin fell below $35,000 early Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Bitcoin was trading at $34,969 as of 1:22 a.m. ET, according to CoinMarketCap. That's a decline of more than 8% compared to a day earlier.

The world's most valuable cryptocurrency fell below $40,000 over the weekend, and has continued to slide as the Ukraine crisis intensifies.

Read more here.

2:03 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Ukraine's President: "The world is with us"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on Thursday that he is continuing consultations with world leaders.

“The world is with us,” he wrote. “I continue negotiations with the leaders. Received support from the Emir of Qatar.”

Earlier in the morning, he tweeted that he had spoken with US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Council President Charles Michel, and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

2:00 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Chinese embassy in Ukraine warns nationals to stay inside, and put Chinese flags on their cars for safety

From CNN's Beijing Bureau and Caitlin McGee in Auckland

The Chinese embassy in Ukraine released a warning for its citizens in the country early Thursday, urging them to place the Chinese flag on their vehicles for safety.

"The situation in Ukraine has deteriorated dramatically. There have been bombings in multiple cities, and the military operations are under way," said the statement from the embassy. It urged citizens to stay home and away from windows or glass, warning "serious riots" may happen on the streets.

It added that if Chinese nationals are driving on the roads, "the Chinese national flag can be affixed to the visible part of the car body."

It also asked Chinese nationals to pay close attention to the situation, stay in contact with overseas Chinese organizations, and to "extend a helping hand to each other to reflect the image of the Chinese people and the strength of China."

A tricky spot for China: China has found itself in an uncomfortable position during the ongoing crisis; China and Russia have have presented an increasingly united front in the face of what they view as Western interference into their domestic affairs and threats to their security. That partnership was very publicly bolstered only weeks ago at a Xi-Putin summit.

Zhang Jun, China's ambassador to the United Nations, called for all parties to "stay cool headed and rational" on Wednesday night, saying "a peaceful solution" was still possible — even as the Ukrainian ambassador declared it was "too late" for de-escalation given Russia's attacks.

1:55 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

US Embassy in Kyiv tells Americans to "shelter in place"

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio in Moscow

The United States Embassy in Kyiv has issued a warning for Americans in Ukraine to “shelter in place” due to Russian attacks in a number of major Ukrainian cities.

“There are reports of Russian attacks on targets in a number of major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Mariupol," the embassy said on Twitter.

"US citizens in Ukraine are advised to shelter in place and take the following actions:

  • If you hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated, immediately seek cover.
  • If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings.
  • If you are outdoors, immediately seek cover in a hardened structure; if that is not possible, lie down and cover your head with your hands."
1:50 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Russian military claims it met no resistance from Ukrainian border guards

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

The Russian military claimed in a statement Thursday that Ukraine's border service "did not provide any resistance" to Russian units invading Ukrainian territory.

The statement also claimed the Russian military had "suppressed" Ukraine's air defenses. 

CNN was not able to immediately verify either of those claims. 

Aircraft denial: In the same statement, the Russian military denied claims by Ukrainian forces that they had downed several Russian aircraft, saying reports "do not correspond with reality."

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces earlier said that five Russian aircraft and a helicopter were shot down early Thursday, as Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

1:49 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

European leaders urge strong sanctions against Russia and aid for Ukraine

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė urged "strong and united action" in a tweet on Thursday.

For anyone who doubted, the time to start seeing things for what they are is long past," she wrote.
The foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia released a joint statement condemning "in (the) strongest possible way, the open large scale Russian (aggression) against the independent, peaceful and democratic Ukraine.”

The statement said Russia’s actions were a “blatant violation of the international law” and a “crime against Ukrainian people that we condemn.” It called on the international community to “impose strongest possible sanctions on Russia," and to provide Ukraine with military, economic, political and humanitarian aid.

Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau also condemned Russia's actions in a tweet on Thursday, urging Moscow to "stop all military action immediately and return to diplomacy.” The lives of millions of people are at stake, he added.