Associated Press journalists in the cities of Odesa and Kharkiv were hearing explosions Thursday morning after Russian President Vladimir Putin defiantly announced he was launching a military operation in Ukraine. Putin is warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would “lead to the consequences you have never seen in history.”
U.S. President Joe Biden says the world will “hold Russia accountable,” and NATO’s head called Russia’s action a violation of international law and a threat to the security of Europe and its Atlantic allies.
The Ukrainian president earlier rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and made a passionate plea for peace.
Before Putin’s announcement, world leaders worked to maintain a united stance and vowed to impose tougher sanctions in the event of a full-fledged invasion.