Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a special military operation and pledged to oversee a “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine.
He also gave a chilling warning to Ukraine’s allies in the West during an early Thursday morning address in Moscow.
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‘To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside – if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,’ he said on a television broadcast around 6am Moscow time.
Putin said he could no longer tolerate what he called threats from Ukraine.
Following the end of his short speech explosions were reported in Kiev, Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city, as well as the city of Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk region.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, had urged Putin to stop his tanks.
‘If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart,’ said Guterres.
‘President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.’
Putin ignored the plea, going on TV to describe the invasion as a ‘special military occupation’ and said he wants to ‘demilitarize’ and ‘de-Nazify’, not occupy, the country.
He told Ukrainian service members to ‘lay down their arms and go home,’ saying Russia could not exist with a ‘constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine’ and clashes between Russian and Ukrainian solders was ‘inevitable.’
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