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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12:04 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Zelensky introduces martial law in Ukraine, urges calm

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky/Facebook

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has introduced martial law, and urged people to remain calm in a brief video address on Thursday morning.

Here's Zelensky's full statement:

“Dear Ukrainian citizens, this morning President Putin announced a special military operation in Donbas. Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine. We’re introducing martial law on the whole territory of our country. A minute ago I had a conversation with President Biden. The US have already started uniting international support. Today each of you should keep calm. Stay at home if you can. We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defense and security is working."
“No panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine.”

12:07 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

India's ambassador to UN: Ukraine situation is "in danger of spiraling into a major crisis"

From CNN’s Manveena Suri in New Delhi

India's Ambassador to the United Nations T. S. Tirumurti on Wednesday night said the situation in Ukraine is “in danger of spiraling into a major crisis.”

“The calls of the international community to give time to the recent initiatives undertaken by parties to defuse tensions were not heeded to,” Tirumurti said at an emergency UN Security Council meeting.
“We express our deep concern over the developments, which, if not handled carefully, may well undermine the peace and security of the region,” he noted, calling for “immediate de-escalation.”
“We believe the solution lies in sustained diplomatic dialogue between the concerned parties. In the meantime, we strongly emphasize the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint.”

Tirumurti called on all parties concerned in the Ukraine-Russia crisis to refrain “from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation.

“India has consistently advocated at the United Nations, the need for peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law and with agreements entered into by parties concerned,” he said.

12:00 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

"Full scale" of sanctions on Russia to be deployed by US and allies on Thursday, US official says

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

The United States and its allies are planning on Thursday to trigger the “full scale” of sanctions against Russia that have been discussed over the past several weeks, according to a senior Biden administration official.

While the official declined to lay out specifics, the US has planned to target Russia’s two largest banks, as well as other financial firms, and has prepared to deploy export controls to cut off Russian access to critical Western technology for entire Russian economic sectors.

Additional members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and their families will also be targeted.

Discussions are ongoing late this evening between US and European officials about the final shape of the package, the official said. It will also be a topic of discussion at the virtual G7 meeting scheduled for Thursday morning, the official said.

US officials also remain on high alert for any cyber activity targeting key domestic targets including banks and critical infrastructure, the official said.

11:53 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

China's ambassador to the UN calls all parties to "stay cool headed"

From CNN’s Beijing Bureau

China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, called on all parties involved in the Ukraine-Russia crisis to “stay cool headed and rational.”

“It is especially important at the moment to avoid fueling tensions,” Zhang said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday night.

“All parties concerned should exercise restraint and avoid the further escalation of tensions,” he said, adding that China believes the “door to a peaceful solution to the Ukraine issue is not fully shut.”

“China will continue to promote peace talks in its own ways and welcomes and encourages all efforts aimed at a diplomatic solution,” Zhang said. 

11:51 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

NATO chief condemns Russia's "reckless attack" on Ukraine

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma in Hong Kong

In a tweet early Thursday morning, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia's "reckless attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives."

“This is a grave breach of international law & a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. NATO Allies will meet to address Russia’s renewed aggression," Stoltenberg added.

11:47 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Biden and Zelensky are currently speaking

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are currently speaking, according to a White House official.

11:46 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Trump calls Russian military operation "a very sad thing for the world" a day after calling Putin a "genius"

From CNN’s Devan Cole

Speaking to Fox News late Wednesday, former US President Donald Trump called Russia’s military operation in Ukraine “a very sad thing for the world” and claimed it wouldn’t have happened during his administration. 

“Well, this is something that should have never happened. This would not have happened during my administration,” Trump said. “It wouldn’t have taken place and it wouldn’t have taken place right now.” 
“And it's a very sad thing for the world, for the country and it’s certainly very sad for a lot of people that are going to be needlessly killed,” he added. 

The former President’s comments come a day after he hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognition of the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, as an act of "genius."

White House response: Asked about Trump’s initial comments on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House does not “take advice from anyone who praises President Putin.” 

Psaki added then that the Biden administration is taking a “different approach” from the Trump administration, adding, “That’s probably why President Biden and not his predecessor was able to rally the world and the global community in taking steps against Russian aggression.”

11:44 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

UN secretary general urges Putin to stop "what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century"

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (UNTV)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring his troops back to Russia and stop "what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century."

Speaking after a UN Security Council meeting late on Wednesday, Guterres warned Putin that Russian military action could not only be "devastating for Ukraine" and "tragic" for Russia "but with an impact we can not even foresee in relation to their consequences for the global economy.”

“In a moment when we are emerging from Covid and so many developing countries absolutely need to have space for the recovery, which would be very, very difficult with the high prices of oil, with the exports of wheat from Ukraine and with rising interest rates caused by instability in international markets,” he added.

“This conflict must stop now.”

Guterres earlier opened his remarks at the stakeout with a somber statement: “This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary General of the United Nations,” he said.

11:39 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Putin threatens "those who may be tempted to intervene" in Russia's military action

From CNN's Darya Tarasova and Nathan Hodge in Moscow

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had ordered military action in Ukraine early Thursday, he threatened "those who may be tempted to intervene" on Ukraine's behalf. 

"Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside," Putin said. "Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard."

CNN teams on the ground have reported explosions around Ukraine and outside of the Donbas region in the country's east.