New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Russia on Thursday launched all-out war on Ukraine with simultaneous attacks coming from south, east and north, by land and by air, Daily Mail reported.
Missiles and bombs rained from the sky, tanks rolled across the border, troops parachuted down on eastern regions and explosions were seen across the country after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the order to attack, the report said.
‘Hundreds’ of Ukrainian troops were killed in early clashes, and official said, as the fight came to them on all fronts at a moment’s notice.
Official figures put the death toll at 40, with ‘dozens’ wounded. Cruise missiles, guided bombs and Grad rockets took out targets from east to west – aimed at airfields, military bases, ammo dumps, and command posts including in the capital, the report said.
Six Russian jets were shot out of the sky over the eastern Donbass region with 50 Russian troops killed, Ukraine claimed, before Moscow boasted of taking full control of the skies, the report said.
Ukrainian border guards said they had come under attack by heavy artillery, tanks and troops from Russia and Belarus as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threw his forces into the fight – though he denied taking part.
Luhansk, Sumy, and Chernihiv in the east of Ukraine all came under attack, while tanks battled on the outskirts of Kharkiv after paratroopers dropped in. Blasts were also reported in the west – in Zhytomyr and Lviv, close to the border with Poland.
Extraordinary video footage showed what appeared to be a Kalibur cruise missile slamming into Ivano-Frankivsk airport. An apartment block in Kharkiv was also struck, causing civilian casualties including a young boy. Video also appeared to confirm cruise missiles had been launched by Russian troops stationed in Moldova, Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile pro-Russian rebel forces pushed out from the occupied Donbass region, capturing two villages and claiming to have shot two Ukrainian jets out of the skies.
The port cities of Mariupol and Odessa, where Ukraine’s main naval bases are located, were also attacked. Russian tankers appeared to have blockaded the Kerch Strait, leading from the Back Sea to the Sea of Azov, cutting off Mariupol.