Earlier than the break of day, simply earlier than explosions started in cities throughout Ukraine, Russian state tv unexpectedly broadcast an deal with by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The 2 self-proclaimed “folks’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk, within the breakaway Ukrainian area of Donbas, which he had formally acknowledged as unbiased lower than two days earlier than, had “turned to Russia with a request for assist,” he mentioned. To reply that decision he was launching a “particular army operation.” Its function: to “demilitarize” and “denazifiy” Ukraine.
Inside minutes, Russian missiles started hitting targets in Ukraine. “Our actions are self-defense in opposition to threats,” he informed his fellow Russians, claiming Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukraine. “We don’t plan to impose ourselves on anybody,” he insisted.
Putin described the “particular army operation” in restricted phrases, to guard folks residing in Donbas who, he claimed, had been subjected to “genocide,” a cost that Ukraine has strenuously denied. However within the subsequent breath, he lashed out extra broadly: “NATO helps Ukrainian neo-Nazis … our actions are self-defense in opposition to threats.”
Then, in a unprecedented passage, he spoke on to members of Ukraine’s army, at that very second within the crosshairs of the Russian army. Addressing them as “pricey comrades,” he informed them that they had taken an “oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian folks, and to not the anti-people junta that’s robbing Ukraine and abuses those self same folks.”
“Do not comply with its felony orders!” he demanded. “I urge you to put down your weapons and go residence.”
As he has performed so many occasions earlier than, Putin claimed Russia had no alternative however to defend itself. With a hard-edged tone in his voice, he appeared to threaten the US, Europe and NATO which, in only a few minutes, would witness his armed forces opening fireplace on Ukraine, one thing the Kremlin had persistently dismissed as western “hysterics.”
“Whoever tries to intrude with us, and much more so, to create threats for our nation, for our folks, ought to know that Russia’s response might be instant and can lead you to such penalties that you’ve got by no means skilled in your historical past.
“We’re prepared for any growth of occasions. All essential selections on this regard have been made.”
Putin, who for years had criticized the West for ignoring his complaints about NATO’s growth towards Russia’s borders, was lastly placing again with fury. “I hope,” he concluded his quick deal with, “that I’ve been heard.”