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Ukrainian Plane Shot Down, Five Killed as Crisis Deepens

Sukhoi Su-25 of Ukrainian Air Force
Ukraine Skywarrior aircraft. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Five people were killed when a Ukraine military plane was shot down on Thursday, Reuters reports. Ukrainian armed forces have sought to defend against a massive Russian military operation, as Russia de facto declared war on the country and launched a series of air missile attacks in a number of Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv.

Ukraine plane shot down on Thursday as violence escalates

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine early on Thursday, starting a war with the European nation. Vladimir Putin announced the military operation into Ukraine at 5:55 a.m. Moscow time — and minutes later the first shells and missiles were launched into Ukraine.

In the capital of Kyiv, war sirens went gone off.

Pictures shown on news channels around the world showed streams of cars clogging up a Kyiv expressway as people fled.

Social media testimonies speak to a growing sense of panic, with some saying they are being rushed into bomb shelters in subway stations and into basements.

The Ukrainian armed forces has posted a statement saying that Russian military began “intensive shelling” of its units in the east of the country.

Russia also launched missile strikes on Boryspil airport near Kyiv and several other airports, the statement said. It said the Ukrainian air force is fighting off an air attack by Russia.

Russia invasion clearly act of war

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Russia’s military action Thursday as an “act of war” in a statement posted to Facebook.

“This is an act of war, an attack on sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a gross violation of the UN Statute and the fundamental norms and principles of international law,” spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said in the statement.

Nikolenko said Russian troops had carried out strikes on “peaceful” Ukrainian cities, in an offensive that aimed to “destroy the state of Ukraine, seize Ukrainian territory by force, and establish occupation control.”

“Ukraine is claiming its right to self-defense in accordance with international law,” the statement said, adding the Ukrainian military was ready to “repel the aggressor and defend the Ukrainian land with all their might.”

Nikolenko urged the international community to “act immediately,” requesting new sanctions be applied to Russia and military equipment to support Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

“Lives and security not only of the Ukrainian citizens but also on the security of the citizens of Europe and the future of the world order depend on our united response,” the statement added.

World leaders react

Global leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have promised that “the world will hold Russia accountable” for what they describe as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine.

“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter. He promised to work with allies to “decisively” respond.

“France strongly condemns Russia’s decision to wage war on Ukraine,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. He demanded that Moscow “end its military operations immediately.”

This is a developing story — and will be updated as more information becomes available

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