Timeline: Putin attacks Ukraine – how it happened

Explosions have been heard across Ukraine, with Kyiv saying military sites targeted by Russia in the eastern Donbas region.

The remains of a shell are seen on a street in Kyiv on February 24, 2022
The remains of a shell are seen on a street in Kyiv on February 24, 2022 [File: Sergei Supinsky/AFP]

Russian forces have launched an assault on Ukraine after months of a military build-up along its border.

Explosions were heard early on Wednesday near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy saying Russia had conducted strikes on military infrastructure and on border guards in the Donbas region.

The attack, which has been met with international condemnation, comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognised two breakaway regions held in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian rebels as independent states and ordered troops into the territories.

Here is a timeline of the reported events so far:

03:00 GMT – Putin announces invasion

Putin announces an attack in Donbas and calls on Ukraine’s military to lay down its arms.

The Russian leader warns other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.

INTERACTIVE: Loud-explosions-heard-across-Kyiv-Ukraine

03:35 GMT – International condemnation

US President Joe Biden denounces Moscow’s “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine, pledging the world will “hold Russia accountable”. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg echoes Biden’s statement, while United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, in an impassionate plea, says, “President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia.” Biden, in a phone call to Zelenskyy, also pledges support to Ukraine and its people.

3:46 GMT – ​​Explosions reportedly heard in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine

04:00 GMT – Ukraine Minisrty of Infrastructure announces passenger and staff evacuated from Kyiv airport

04:15 GMT – Explosions heard near Kyiv, elsewhere

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports at least seven “loud explosions” were heard in Ukraine’s capital, close to Boryspil international airport.

In the east, artillery fire is reportedly heard in pro-Russian rebel controlled Donetsk and explosions heard near Kharkiv.

04:30 GMT – Ukraine says Russia has launched ‘full-scale invasion’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Russia has launched a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine and is targeting cities with weapons strikes.

04:41 GMT – Kyiv mayor urges citizens to stay home following explosion heard in capital.

04:45 GMT – Ukraine shuts down its entire airspace in response to the Russian military operation in Donbass.

05:00 GMT – Russia says targeting ‘junta’ in Kyiv

Russia’s ambassador to the UN tells an emergency Security Council meeting that Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine was targeting “the junta” in power in Kyiv.

“I wanted to say in conclusion that we aren’t being aggressive against the Ukrainian people but against the junta that is in power in Kiyv,” says Vassily Nebenzia.

05 GMT – Russian-backed separatists say they have attacked Ukraine-controlled town

Russian-backed separatists say they had launched offensives on the Ukrainian-controlled town of Shchastia in the Luhansk province and against Ukrainian forces along line of contact in Donetsk, Russia’s Interfax news agency said.

05:25 GMT – Russia says targeting Ukraine military facilities with ‘precision’ weapons

“Military infrastructure, air defence facilities, military airfields, and aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being disabled with high-precision weapons,” the defence ministry says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

5:30 GMT  – Russia suspends flights at domestic airports near Ukraine border until March 2.

05:45 GMT – Ukraine says eastern units under intensive shelling

Ukraine’s defence minister says Ukrainian units, military control centres and airfields in the country’s east are under intensive Russian shelling.

INTERACTIVE Ukraine Donbas region Feb

06:00 GMT – Ukraine says troops attacked from Belarus

Ukraine border guard service says the Russian military attacking Ukraine from Belarus as well as Russia itself.

06:05 GMT – Zelenskyy declares martial law

Zelenskyy, in a brief national address, says “Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards” and introduces martial law across Ukraine.

06:15 GMT –  ​​Poland says it expects NATO’s eastern flank to be reinforced

Poland expects a decision on reinforcing NATO’s eastern flank after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, a Polish government spokesman said.

“Now is the time to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank. We expect such decisions to be taken,” Piotr Muller said.

06:20 GMT – Russia says it has degraded Ukraine’s air defence

Russia’s defence ministry says it has attacked military infrastructure at Ukrainian airbases and degraded Ukraine’s air defences, according to reports by Russian news agencies. The claims could not be independently verified.

The ministry also denies reports that one of its aircraft had been shot down over Ukraine.

06:48 GMT – Separatists claim capture of Ukrainian towns

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have said they have captured the towns of Shchastia and Stanytsia Luhanska in Ukraine’s region of Luhansk, the RIA news agency reported. There was no immediate comment by authorities in Ukraine.

07:00 GMT – Ukraine claims to have shot down Russian planes

The Ukrainian military says it has shot down five Russian planes and one helicopter in the Luhansk area. The claim could not be independently verified.

07:15 GMT – Ukraine says Russian military hardware entering from Crimea

Ukraine has that Russia was moving military equipment into the country from annexed Crimea and that Russia was shelling it across the country all the way to western Ukraine’s Lviv region.

07:15 GMT – Ukraine says at least eight people killed by Russian shelling

At least eight people have been killed and nine were wounded by the Russian shelling, an advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs has said, according to Reuters news agency.

The border guard said separately Russian military columns have crossed Ukrainian border into Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions.

INTERACTIVE- Russia Ukraine Conflict at a glance FEB 24

07:44 GMT – Russian-backed separatist say  goal is to capture Ukrainian regions

A Russian-backed separatist leader in eastern Ukraine has said their main objective was to regain control of all the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk where their breakaway territories are located, the Interfax news agency reported.

08:25 GMT – Security camera footage shows Russian military vehicles crossing into Ukraine from Russian-annexed Crimea

08:48 GMT – Kyiv says anyone who can hold a weapon can join territorial defence forces

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that anyone who is ready and able to hold a weapon can join the ranks of the territorial defence forces, as the police said they would distribute weapons to veterans.

09:00 GMT – Mariupol mayor says three ‘peaceful people’ killed in village near airport

The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, has said three “peaceful people” were killed in Russian attacksnear the city’s airport.

He added others, including a child, were injured.

“I want to reassure you that our military spirit is at its highest level. Nobody will surrender Mariupol, we will defend our city and our land,” he said at a news conference.

09:30 GMT – Zelenskyy calls on citizens to fight

The Ukrainian president urged all citizens who were ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

Zelenskyy also urged Russians to come out and protest against the war.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies