Kiev Oblast under helicopter attack as Russia focussed on relentless inland push – VIDEO

Ukraine: Helicopters swoop over Kiev Oblast

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A Ukrainian military plane was shot down on Thursday and five people were killed, Ukrainian police and the state emergency service said, as its armed forces sought to defend against a massive Russian military operation. Russian forces invaded Ukraine by land, air, and sea on Thursday in the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

The Antonov An-26 has been shattered from the nose as a photo shows firefighters desperately trying to put out the fire.

Meanwhile, regional authorities of Ukraine’s southern Odessa region said that 18 people were killed in a missile attack.

At least six people were killed in Ukraine’s town of Brovary, located near the capital of Kiev, authorities from the town said.

A boy was also killed in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region after shelling struck an apartment building, emergency services said.

An adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office said more than 40 Ukrainian soldiers were dead and dozens wounded.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had destroyed 74 above-ground military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, including 11 aerodromes, the RIA news agency reported.

Missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus, and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas.

Ukrainian troops fought Russian forces along practically the entire border, and fierce fighting was taking place in the regions of Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa and at a military airport near Kyiv, an adviser to the presidential office said.

Ukraine: Huge traffic jams build as people flee Kiev

Explosions were heard before dawn and throughout the morning in the capital Kyiv, a city of 3 million people. Gunfire rattled, sirens blared, and the highway out of the city choked with traffic as residents fled.

The assault brought a calamitous end to weeks of fruitless diplomatic efforts by Western leaders to avert war, their worst fears about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions realised.

“Russia treacherously attacked our state in the morning, as Nazi Germany did in the WW2 years,” tweeted Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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“Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself & won’t give up its freedom no matter what Moscow thinks.”

Calling on Ukrainians to defend their country, he said arms would be given to anyone prepared to fight. He also urged Russians to take to the streets to protest against their government’s actions.

US President Joe Biden called the Russian action an “unprovoked and unjustified attack”.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc would impose a new round of sanctions that would hit Russia’s economy severely.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said: “These are among the darkest hours of Europe since the Second World War.”

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