Photo of Russian strikes on Ukraine
Photo of Russian strikes on Ukraine

Rus­sia and Ukraine are at war.

A short time ago, with dark­ness still envelop­ing east­ern Europe and with the Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil in ses­sion at UN head­quar­ters in New York, Russ­ian forces began attack­ing Ukraine at the behest of Russ­ian dic­ta­tor Vladimir Putin, who is obsessed with bring­ing Rus­si­a’s neigh­bor under his control.

In Moscow, Putin announced that he had ordered a “mil­i­tary oper­a­tion” with­in the bor­ders of Ukraine, despite the fer­vent protests of much of the world community.

Ukran­ian offi­cials report­ed that the cap­i­tal, Kyiv, had been struck by Russ­ian mis­siles. Uncon­firmed reports sug­gest­ed that Russ­ian forces were mov­ing against Kyiv’s air­port and oth­er strate­gic tar­gets with­in Ukraine. Loud booms have been heard in Kyiv and Kharkiv by cor­re­spon­dents work­ing for CNN and the BBC.

“Putin has just launched a full-scale inva­sion of Ukraine. Peace­ful Ukrain­ian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggres­sion. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now,” tweet­ed Dmytro Kule­ba, the Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs for Ukraine.

“A whol­ly unpro­voked attack on a peace­ful coun­try 🇺🇦 is unfold­ing. Hor­ri­fied. Just because you’ve pre­pared and thought about this pos­si­bil­i­ty for weeks and months doesn’t mean it isn’t shock­ing when it actu­al­ly hap­pens,” said Britain’s ambas­sador to Ukraine, Melin­da Sim­mons.

“There is no pur­ga­to­ry for war crim­i­nals,” Ukrain­ian Ambas­sador Sergiy Kys­lyt­sya told Russ­ian Ambas­sador Vasi­ly Neben­zya, who was iron­i­cal­ly chair­ing the afore­men­tioned meet­ing of the Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Council.

“They go straight to hell, ambas­sador,” Kys­lyt­sya added.

The Unit­ed States harsh­ly denounced Putin’s attack and warned Putin that he and Rus­sia would pay a steep price for insti­gat­ing a total­ly nec­es­sary war.

“The prayers of the entire world are with the peo­ple of Ukraine tonight as they suf­fer an unpro­voked and unjus­ti­fied attack by Russ­ian mil­i­tary forces. Pres­i­dent Putin has cho­sen a pre­med­i­tat­ed war that will bring a cat­a­stroph­ic loss of life and human suf­fer­ing,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in a statement.

“Rus­sia alone is respon­si­ble for the death and destruc­tion this attack will bring, and the Unit­ed States and its Allies and part­ners will respond in a unit­ed and deci­sive way. The world will hold Rus­sia accountable.”

“I will be mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion from the White House this evening and will con­tin­ue to get reg­u­lar updates from my nation­al secu­ri­ty team. Tomor­row, I will meet with my G7 coun­ter­parts in the morn­ing and then speak to the Amer­i­can peo­ple to announce the fur­ther con­se­quences the Unit­ed States and our Allies and part­ners will impose on Rus­sia for this need­less act of aggres­sion against Ukraine and glob­al peace and secu­ri­ty. We will also coor­di­nate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, unit­ed response that deters any aggres­sion against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are pray­ing for the brave and proud peo­ple of Ukraine.”

“Cana­da con­demns in the strongest pos­si­ble terms Rus­si­a’s egre­gious attack on Ukraine. These unpro­voked actions are a clear fur­ther vio­la­tion of Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty. They are also in vio­la­tion of Rus­si­a’s oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tion­al law and the Char­ter of the Unit­ed Nations,” said Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau.

“I strong­ly con­demn Russia’s reck­less and unpro­voked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk count­less civil­ian lives,” said NATO Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Jens Stoltenberg. “Once again, despite our repeat­ed warn­ings and tire­less efforts to engage in diplo­ma­cy, Rus­sia has cho­sen the path of aggres­sion against a sov­er­eign and inde­pen­dent country.”

“This is a grave breach of inter­na­tion­al law, and a seri­ous threat to Euro-Atlantic secu­ri­ty. I call on Rus­sia to cease its mil­i­tary action imme­di­ate­ly and respect Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty. NATO Allies will meet to address the con­se­quences of Russia’s aggres­sive actions. We stand with the peo­ple of Ukraine at this ter­ri­ble time. NATO will do all it takes to pro­tect and defend all Allies.”

“There will be tremen­dous dis­in­for­ma­tion point­ed at the US & EU in com­ing days,” not­ed John Scott-Rail­ton. “Any­thing to turn us against each oth­er & neuter our resolve. Please, before the next wave of lies lands, take a minute to edu­cate every­one you know about what is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing in Ukraine.”

Sev­er­al media out­lets are offer­ing liveblogs:

Although not unex­pect­ed, this is nev­er­the­less a very dark and dis­turb­ing devel­op­ment. Our strong sym­pa­thies are with the peo­ple of Ukraine tonight and in the dif­fi­cult days that lie ahead.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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