10:45 p.m. MST — Overnight, Russia launched an all-out attack on Ukraine, aiming missiles at infrastructure — airfields and military installations — on the edge of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, as well as in other major Ukrainian cities closer to the eastern border with Russia. Ukraine may be on the other side of the world, but the impact of what is happening there will echo here.
Just before commencing the missile attacks, Russian President/dictator Vladimir Putin made a 3:00 a.m. Moscow time televised speech to the Russian people in which he announced he was beginning a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s government has called it “a full-scale attack from multiple directions.” It is the most significant European War in almost 80 years, since World War II.
Ukrainians were asleep and woke to the sound of bombs. Most Russians were asleep and woke up Thursday morning shocked at the news. There is little organized resistance to Putin in Russia (because he’s crushed it over the past several years) and it does not appear that he is listening to anyone.
Putin didn’t stop there. He went on to call the operation the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine, ending eight years of war in eastern Ukraine where Russian separatist forces have faced off on the eastern side of trenches. Then Putin warned the West not to interfere, chillingly reminding them that Russia is a nuclear power.
Just before the attacks began, the United Nations Security Council was in special session in New York City, per the request of the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations over the crisis. It was a surreal situation given that the rotating presidency of the security council is held by the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations. Russia was roundly condemned by country after country.
When the Ukrainian Ambassador spoke, in choked tones, he said that half of what he was going to say “was no longer relevant” because 23 minutes before, Russia had begun an attack on his country. He reminded the Security Council of the United Nations charter, that all nations belonging to it agreed to work for peace, and suggested in strong terms that Russia no longer had a right to a place at the United Nations, or to chair the Security Council. He asked pointed questions about why Russia had begun this unjustified attack on his country, and demanded that he be replaced. The Russian Ambassador to the UN responded angrily, saying he wasn’t ready to answer those questions.
It was one of the more dramatic moments in the 77-year history of the United Nations. Created out of the ashes of World War II, when the world realized that it could not ever again tread the path of war, it now seems blocked from dealing with the biggest threat to world peace since its inception.
The Russian aggression harkens back to the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 — a tirade proclaiming justification that the invading country was rescuing its ethnic people, an air bombardment campaign to soften up the target, then a ground advance with tanks.
For the record; Ukraine is a democracy. Its people and leaders are not Nazis. It has done nothing to justify this invasion of their sovereign country. The aggressor is Russia.
While the missiles began to fall just after 3:00 a.m. Kyiv time, hours later, at 7:00 a.m. in Kyiv (nine hours ahead of Colorado time), air raid sirens began to go off in Kyiv, to indicate the capital of Ukraine is under attack. It is no longer possible to believe that a big battle isn’t coming.
U.S. President Joe Biden has already issued a statement that he and other NATO countries will announce more severe sanctions against Russia tomorrow. Overnight, global oil prices topped $100 per barrel. As markets open in Moscow, the Russian Ruble is already in free-fall against the American dollar. Stock markets are expected to plunge in Europe and on Wall Street.
Featured image: The main square of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. AVV file photo