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Russia launched a barrage of missile, artillery and air attacks early today. The attack began before dawn in the capital Kyiv and other cities with explosions. 

The Ukrainian leadership said at least 40 people had been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war" targeting the country from the east, north and south.

Ukrainian citizen started fleeing the some cities, and the Russian military claimed to have incapacitated all of Ukraine's air defenses and air bases within hours.

The Russian flag is seen behind a razor wire fence on the roof of the Russian Consulate General in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy
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The Russian flag is seen behind a razor wire fence on the roof of the Russian Consulate General in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 23, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy (REUTERS)

In a televised address as the attack began, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would “lead to consequences you have never seen in history." This comes as US President Joe Biden declared that the world will “hold Russia accountable."

A child stands at the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
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A child stands at the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (REUTERS)

World leaders decried the start of an invasion that could cause massive casualties, topple Ukraine's democratically elected government and threaten the post-Cold War balance on the continent.

A Ukrainian rocket launcher vehicle drives west of the coastal city of Mariupol, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Mariupol, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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A Ukrainian rocket launcher vehicle drives west of the coastal city of Mariupol, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Mariupol, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (REUTERS)

World leaders decried the start of an invasion that could cause massive casualties, topple Ukraine's democratically elected government and threaten the post-Cold War balance on the continent.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia's action as a violation of international law and a threat to European security.

Vilnius : Protesters burn a Russian passport to demonstrates against Russian attacks in Ukraine in front of the Russian embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to 'consequences you have never seen.' AP/PTI(AP02_24_2022_000116B)
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Vilnius : Protesters burn a Russian passport to demonstrates against Russian attacks in Ukraine in front of the Russian embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russian troops launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to 'consequences you have never seen.' AP/PTI(AP02_24_2022_000116B) (AP)

Ukraine's foreign ministry said Russia's intent was to destroy the state of Ukraine, a Westward-looking democracy intent on moving out of Moscow's orbit.

Here are ten points we know about the crisis till now

-Putin said the military operation was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine — a claim the US had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion. Putin said Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine but will “demilitarise" it. He also accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia's demands to block Ukraine from ever joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees.

-Ukraine's border guard agency said the Russian military has attacked from neighbouring Belarus, unleashing a barrage of artillery. The agency said Ukrainian border guards fired back, adding that there was no immediate report of casualties. Russian troops have been in Belarus for military drills.

-Biden, Stoltenberg and other world leaders quickly condemned Russia's attack as unprovoked and unjustified.

-Residents of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, could be heard shouting in the streets when the first explosions sounded. But some kind of normalcy quickly returned, with cars circulating in the streets in the early morning commute.

-President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a video statement declaring martial law. He told Ukrainians that the United States was gathering international support to respond to Russia. He urged residents to remain calm and stay at home.

-World stock markets have plunged and oil prices surged by nearly $6 per barrel after Putin launched Russian military action in Ukraine. Market benchmarks tumbled in Europe and Asia and US futures were sharply lower.

-China's customs agency on Thursday approved imports of wheat from all regions of Russia, a move that could help to reduce the impact of possible Western sanctions. China also refused to term Russia's special military operations on Ukraine as “invasion" and cited ‘historical background’.

-At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Ukraine that opened just before Putin's announcement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Putin: “Stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died."

-Ukraine's forces are no match for Moscow's military might, so Kyiv is counting on other countries to hit Russia hard — with sanctions.

-Biden on Wednesday allowed sanctions to move forward against the company that built the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and against the company's CEO. Biden said more sanctions would be announced on Thursday. Germany said Tuesday it was indefinitely suspending the pipeline.

(With inputs from PTI)

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