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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2:55 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Poland and Baltic countries trigger consultations under NATO article 4

From CNN’s Brad Lendon in Seoul, South Korea and Vasco Cotovio in Moscow

NATO member states Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have triggered NATO Article Four to launch consultations within the alliance over their security concerns. 

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represented a “threat to the whole of Europe,” the Estonian government said in a statement on Thursday. 

"Russia's widespread aggression is a threat to the entire world and to all NATO countries, and NATO consultations on strengthening the security of the Allies must be initiated to implement additional measures for ensuring the defense of NATO Allies,” Kallas said. “The most effective response to Russia's aggression is unity.”

Some context: Under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Agreement, the Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the allies is threatened.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO. However, Russia has demanded that NATO commits to never admitting Ukraine to the alliance, something NATO members have rejected, citing the alliance's "open door" policy.

2:48 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

People urged to take cover in Ukrainian city of Lviv

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq in Atlanta and journalist Sofiya Harbuziuk in Lviv, Ukraine

Residents of Lviv in western Ukraine were urged not to panic by local authorities on Thursday following Russia’s attack on the country, according to local reports.

Authorities in the city said residents should turn off their lights and take cover, a local state-run TV report said. They should also hold on to their important documents, the report added.

A CNN team on the ground heard the sound of sirens multiple times on Thursday. CNN reporters also saw residents in the outskirts of Lviv lining up outside banks to withdraw cash.

Some diplomats previously relocated to Lviv, which is located about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the border with Poland, over the past couple of weeks as fears grew that a Russian attack on Ukraine would include the capital, Kyiv.

2:52 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Flight tracker shows mostly empty airspace above Ukraine and western Russia


Imagery from flight tracking service Flightradar24 shows mostly empty airspace above Ukraine and western Russia, with planes in the area steering clear of the border regions.

Early on Thursday, Ukraine's aviation authorities issued a notice restricting the country's airspace, covering the regions around Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa and Simferopol.

European aviation regulators also warned that any civilian aircraft near the Ukrainian border could face a "high risk" of being targeted.

3:02 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Japan's Prime Minister says Russia's invasion "shakes foundations of international order"

From CNN's Emiko Jozuka in Tokyo 

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday condemned Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine, saying it "shakes the foundations of the international order."

"We strongly criticize Russia's actions and will cooperate with the United States and the international community to respond swiftly," Kishida told reporters at a news conference.

Kishida added that Tokyo would continue to work with relevant ministries to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in Ukraine.

When asked about further sanctions against Moscow, Kishida told reporters he would consider future measures after communicating with other G7 nations and the international community.

Some context: Kishida on Wednesday said Japan will impose sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

Kishida said Japan will suspend the issuance of visas and freeze the assets of people involved in recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, the two separatist-held pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine. He did not specify names or how the sanctions would be carried out.

He also said Japan will ban imports and exports to and from Donetsk and Luhansk, and prohibit the issuance and circulation of Russian bonds in Japan.

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

Belarus' Lukashenko convenes a meeting with military, state media says

From CNN's Nathan Hodge in Moscow

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will convene a meeting with his military, state-run news agency Belta reported on Thursday.

Belarus and Russia have close military ties, and Russian troops recently deployed to Belarus for extensive military drills. 

CNN has witnessed, through a livestream video, troops atop a column of military vehicles entering Ukraine from a border crossing with Belarus.

Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke earlier Thursday morning about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Belta reported.

2:30 a.m. ET, February 24, 2022

Ukraine Defense Ministry: "Russian troops are suffering losses"

From CNN’s Mick Krever in Kharkiv and Tim Lister in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said Thursday its forces are countering the Russian offensive “with dignity” and inflicting losses on Moscow’s troops.

“National Defence Forces, using the right for self-defence according to the article 51 of the United Nations Charter are countering with dignity the enemy's attempts to break through the state border,” the Ministry said in a statement shared on Whatsapp. “Situation is controlled. The Russian troops are suffering losses.”

The Ministry also said there had been “no losses among the defenders of Ukraine.”

In an earlier statement, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said it had neutralized Ukrainian air defenses.

CNN has been unable to independently verify either of these claims.

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."