Ukraine to expect new wave of vicious attacks as Kiev weathers second night of invasion

Ukraine: Sirens sound in Kiev as Russia begins invasion

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Ukrainian residents woke to the sounds of missiles and fighter jets echoing overhead at 5AM local time, while just hours later the apocalyptic sound of the air raid sirens tore through the capital at 7AM, signalling the dreaded Russian invasion had begun. The attack was launched after Russian President Vladimir Putin, 69, addressed the world and announced he had called for a “special military operation”.

The attack was launched on three fronts, land, air and sea, after the Russian President demanded Ukraine stand down and lay down its arms.

The attack was confirmed by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who wrote on social media that Putin had “launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine” as explosions rattled the nation and gunfire boomed near the main airport.

Mr Kuleba wrote: “Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. 

“Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

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The eastern European nation has now declared martial law as thousands of people flee their homes to neighbouring countries, with the fear tonight will bring another wave of attacks.

Moldova alone said more than 4,000 people had come over the border from Ukraine.

Dr Iulia Joja, who is project director of the Frontier Europe Initiative and expert on European and Black Sea security, issued a sombre warning as Ukraine entered nightfall.

She told “With several cities being either taken over, or under heavy, heavy Russian attack, we’re now seeing the most recent reports in Mariupol.

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“We’ve seen incidents on the Serpent Island, which belongs to Ukraine, but the maritime water around it is Romania – so NATO territory.

“With all of this happening, it’s likely that we’re gonna see more attacks, more vicious attacks from the Russian side, including on civilians.

“We’re going to see, I’m afraid, a lot more and worse in the next few hours.”

The devastating turn of events last night was described as a “dark day” by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, those in the three Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, have been reminded of a time under Soviet regime.

The Kremlin’s invasion gave the three nations a stark reminder when the Baltics were seized and annexed by Josef Stalin during World War II before gaining independence again following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The eastern European nations joined NATO shortly after in 2004 and now fall under the protection of their Western allies.

Ukraine is not a part of NATO as both Ukraine and Georgia were denied membership in 2008 after resistance was reportedly met from France and Germany.

Following the attacks on Ukraine, Lithuania’s President declared a state of emergency, while Latvia suspended the broadcast licences of several Russian TV stations accused of spreading disinformation and propaganda.

Dr Joja warned “spillover” to the Baltic states is likely.

She told “The issue is risks of spillover off not just military, kinetic, but non military.

“We’ve seen reports confirmed here in the United States that cyber attacks have spread to Poland and the Baltic states, and this could trigger Article Five.

“Now Article Five does not mean military action, it means collective defence support and in collective defence.

“But the spread or the risk of spread of spillover is real.”

Last week in a joint news conference with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis warned Russia likely will not stop with Ukraine.

He said: “The battle for Ukraine is a battle for Europe.

“If Putin is not stopped there, he will go further.”

Dr Paul Flenley, from the University of Portsmouth, has stated the West “cannot predict Putin’s next move”.

He told “The one worrying sign for the Baltic States is Putin’s remarks challenging the status of Ukraine.

“For all the former Soviet states their existing borders were determined in the Soviet period, so they could be challenged.

“Latvia and Estonia have significant Russian minorities. These have always been supportive of the independence of their states.

“However, Putin could use some pretext to challenge the status of the existing borders, in the name of defending Russian minorities.

“The main difference here is that they are members of NATO and the latter has an obligation of military defence.

“However, the difficulty comes when the red lines are not obvious. How to defend against non-standard forms of attack –cyberattacks, provocations, minor incursions.”

However, Dr Flenley went on to state that such intention of challenging the independent status of the Baltic States has not yet been made.

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