Russia has launched a multi-effort attack on Ukraine, crossing the border from several points on the eastern and northern border as well as through southern ports and Crimea, with focus on military installations and airports. The offensive has prompted massive displacement from the capital of Kyiv and other parts of the country, with several thousand people entering Moldova and neighboring countries on high alert for continued displacement.
Kyiv has instituted a daily curfew, and public transportation stations have opened as shelters as Russian forces attack nearby military bases and airports, and air raid sirens have sounded across the capital since the attacks began on the evening of February 23rd. Ukraine's ambassador to the United States told reporters today that the Ministry of Health has stated hospitals have been attacked by Russian forces, although this has not been confirmed from other sources.
According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces entering Ukraine from Belarus have captured the radioactive Chernobyl exclusion zone. The 1,000-squaremile protective zone lies in the direct shortest path from Belarus into Kyiv. Ukrainian forces attempted to defend the storage unit containing nuclear dust, that if disturbed, could cover Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries in the European Union.
The port city of Odessa incurred significant shelling overnight, with emergency services struggling to extinguish fires and rescue citizens. Ukrainians near the conflict zones are lining up to access cash and fuel, and although communications and cell towers are reportedly functional for now, citizens are preparing for significant disruptions to supply chains, health care, and road access.
Ukraine declared independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the country has had a complicated relationship with Russia since then. In 2014, Russian forces annexed Crimea, and have maintained control of the peninsula since then. A few months later, Russian-backed separatists in Donbas took control of the region, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk earlier this week as he paved the way for extensive military action in Ukraine.