Russia Launches Precision Strikes on Ukrainian Targets: Kiev Says Full Scale Invasion Underway

The Russian Defence Ministry announced on February 24 that the country’s armed forces had launched strikes against Ukrainian military facilities as part of escalated operations in the country. The strikes reportedly used precision guided weapons to target military infrastructure, air defence sites, airfields and aircraft, but would not engage targets in cities. This followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authorisation of a “special military operation” to “demilitarise” and “de-Nazify” Russia’s neighbour and protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Russia itself. The republics were recognised by Russia as separate states on February 21, after they had come under intensive Ukrainian attacks in the preceding days.

The territories of both Donetsk and Lugansk are still recognised by the United Nations as part of Ukraine. Both have been self governing since 2014, after they refused to recognise the overthrow of the Ukrainian government that year which led to the installation of a more pro Western administration widely criticised of cracking down on its Russian speaking minority. Personnel from the Lugansk People’s Republic have reportedly been engaged in combat against Ukrainian forces in close coordination with the Russian military. It remains uncertain how far the Russian military operations will go, with the Ukrainian government claiming a full scale invasion is underway although there have been no signs yet of efforts to capture major cities or move in large numbers of ground forces. 

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