In the early hours of Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a special military operation in Ukraine’s Donbass region demanding the Ukrainian military to lay down arms and to go home.
In a special televised address on Russian state TV, Putin said Russia has been left with no choice but to defend itself against threats emanating from Ukraine.
The scope of the Russian military operation is not immediately clear.
Huge explosions in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine were heard. Sounds of artillery shelling in the distance was also clear.
Putin made it clear that Moscow would respond instantly if any external force tried to interfere with its military operations saying Russia aims to de-militarise and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.
Putin’s comments come in the wake of separatists appealing to Russia for help against what they said described as growing Ukrainian aggression.
Kyiv has denied any aggression.
“All responsibility for bloodshed will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine,” said Putin to state TV.