The Russian defence ministry said that Ukraine’s air bases and military infrastructure has been neutralized
NEW DELHI: Russia’s ground forces on Thursday crossed into Ukraine from several directions, Ukraine’s border guard service said, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive.
Ukraine said that at least seven people were killed and nine wounded by Russian shelling.
The Russian defence ministry said that Ukraine’s air bases and military infrastructure has been neutralized, according to an IFX news agency report.
Russian-backed separatists claimed control of two towns in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, said Reuters.
Russian tanks and other heavy equipment crossed the frontier in several northern regions, as well as from the Kremlin-annexed peninsula of Crimea in the south, the agency said.
It said one of its servicemen died in a shelling attack along the Crimean border, the first officially confirmed military death of the Russian invasion.
Ukraine has suffered heavy casualties in its eight-year conflict with Russian-backed rebels in the separatist east, but has reported no fatalities along its southern border with Crimea for some years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard across the country and its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” was underway.
Shortly after the announcement, explosions were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and several other cities, according to AFP correspondents.
Ukrainian border guards reported being under attack along the Russian and Belarusian frontiers.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law and said Russia was attacking his country’s “military infrastructure”, but urged citizens not to panic and vowed victory.
His foreign minister said the worst-case scenario was playing out.