As he ordered his forces to launch their invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned the West not to interfere lest they face unprecedented “consequences” the likes of which haven’t been seen in Europe since World War II.
“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside — if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,” Putin warned in an address as explosions began rocking parts of Ukraine, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
The outlet continued:
The United Nations Security Council had just convened an emergency meeting Wednesday night when Putin took to Russian airwaves to announce the invasion at 5:50 am Moscow time.
Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, had urged Putin to stop his tanks.
“If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”
But of course, the Russian leader ignored the plea and sent his forces in anyway, calling the invasion a “special military occupation” aiming to “demilitarize” Ukraine and “de-Nazify,” not occupy the country.
Putin implored Ukrainian soldiers to “lay down their arms and go home,” adding that Russia can’t exist with the “constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine.” He also declared that fighting between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers was “inevitable.”
“I have decided to conduct a special military operation. Russia cannot exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of Ukraine,” he told Russian citizens. “You and I have been left with no opportunity to protect our people other than the one we use today.”
Wednesday evening in the U.S. as the sun rose Thursday morning in Ukraine, President Brandon also appealed for peace.
“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,” he said.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. 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,” he added.
The fighting in Ukraine immediately impacted global oil prices, and food inflation is certain to follow as commerce flows from Ukraine stopped amid port closures.
“Mariupol, on the Black Sea 50 miles from the Russian border, appeared to be under fierce attack. Taking this strategic location would give the Donbas republics access to the sea,” the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed his country would repel the Russian aggressors in a speech to his people.
“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” he said. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”
On Friday, the Pentagon said that Putin was becoming “increasingly frustrated” by a lack of progress made by his forces after they apparently failed to take certain objectives within a specified timeframe, according to Fox News.
“We have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the northern parts of Ukraine,” a senior defense official said. “We also continue to see indications of viable Ukrainian resistance.”
“We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected,” the official added.