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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
VADIM GHIRDA A Ukrainian soldier stands next to a military vehicle on a road in Kramatosrk, eastern Ukraine
# Explainer
Russian invasion of Ukraine: Here are the main points to know
Russian troops have captured the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant this evening after a battle with Ukraine’s defence.

A WAR IS happening in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an attack on the country.

Putin launched a broad Russian military offensive targeting Ukraine at about 5am local time (3am Irish time).

Weeks of intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter Putin from invading.

Russia had massed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine in recent weeks but had denied an invasion was imminent.

Explosions can be heard across Ukraine today and its foreign minister has warned that a “full-scale invasion” is underway.

The situation is evolving quickly. 

Here’s how it started this morning:

  • The invasion began at around 5am local time (3am Irish time). Explosions have occurred in major cities including the capital Kyiv as well as Odessa, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Dnipro.
  • At around 7am local time (5am Irish time), Russian-backed separatist rebels were reported to be attacking Ukrainian positions around the self-proclaimed republics in Luhansk and Donetsk.
  • Here is a timeline of some of the crucial moments from the last few months ahead of today’s invasion.

This is what’s happened in Ukraine since: 

  • Ukraine has imposed martial law. According to the decree, martial law is imposed from 5.30am (local time) today for a period of 30 days.
  • A US defense official told AFP that it believes Russia’s invasion is aimed at capturing Kyiv to remove the country’s leaders and replace them. 
  • Russian troops have captured the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant this evening after a battle with Ukraine’s defence.
  • In a scathing national address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia attacked this morning “just like fascist Germany did during the Second World War”.
  • At least 10 civilians have died in bombings by Russian forces, including at least one child, Ukrainian police said earlier today. Ukraine’s military command said government forces had killed “around 50 Russian occupiers”. 
  • Flights have been instructed to avoid Ukraine’s airspace amid cancellations of flights in and out of the country.
  • Russia claims it has destroyed 70 military targets in Ukraine, including 11 airfields, three command posts, and 18 radar stations.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to retake an airfield close to the capital Kyiv captured by Russian forces.
  • The mayor of Kyiv has announced that an overnight curfew will be imposed from 10pm to 7am local time. Public transport will not run but metro stations will stay open to serve as bomb shelters. 

Here’s how the world is responding:

  • The West has condemned the invasion and said fresh sanctions on Russia are imminent.
  • The European Union has summoned the Russian ambassador to the EU to convey its “strongest condemnation” of the attack.
  • In Moscow and St Petersburg, police have arrested anti-war protesters.
  • US president Joe Biden is announced further sanctions and export controls against Russia. He vowed to defend “every inch” of NATO territory but reiterated that American troops will not be deployed to Ukraine.
  • The African Union has condemned Russia’s attack and called for an “immediate ceasefire”.
  • Uefa is preparing contingency plans to take the Champions League final away from St Petersburg.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone tonight to “demand the immediate halt of Russian military operations, noting that Russia risked massive sanctions”.

And here’s what’s happening in Ireland:

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the invasion is an “outrageous breach of the fundamental principles of international law”. This evening, he arrived in Brussels for a special meeting of the European Council.
  • Ireland is to waive visa requirements for all Ukrainian people who travel here.
  • Ukrainians are protesting outside Leinster House, calling on the government to take action against Russia.
  • The cost of gas and food prices are likely to rise in Ireland as the conflict escalates.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its advice, urging Irish citizens in Ukraine to shelter in a secure place or leave the country if safe to do so.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “Ireland is a neutral country, we’re militarily non-aligned, but we are certainly not neutral on an issue like this, when there is blatant aggression happening on the continent of Europe.”
  • Nikita Isakin, Press Attaché of Russia’s Dublin Embassy told The Journal ”it’s a difficult time”, adding: “God help us.”
  • Security expert Tom Clonan has written analysis saying that this war will test European values in a manner not seen since the 1940s.

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland, Jane Moore and AFP

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