11 airfields, naval base, and 18 radar stations destroyed as Russian missiles hit Ukrainian targets

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Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday authorised a special military operation in Ukraine and confirmed targeting military facilities across the neighbouring country.

A total of 11 airfields, three command posts, a Ukrainian naval base, and 18 radar stations of the S-300 and Buk-M1 air defence missile systems were among the facilities destroyed, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

Signs of nervousness were growing as planes flew overhead, explosions were heard, and an alarm siren sounded in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where citizens were standing in long lines hoping to draw money and stock up on supplies.

In the centre of Kiev, the local bus system, subway, banks, supermarkets, pharmacies and hotels were still operating normally. However, many private shops and bookstores have closed.

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) have both denied the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine.

In a televised speech to the nation earlier yesterday, Mr Putin said: “Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force.”

He said Russia’s move was in response to “fundamental threats” by NATO, which had expanded to Eastern Europe and brought its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.

Mr Putin called on all people living on the territory of Ukraine to “independently determine the future of their own and children”.

In Kiev, explosions were heard at Boryspil International Airport and other places across the city, according to local media reports.

The country’s airspace was closed for civilian aircraft, and local authorities were evacuating passengers and staff from the airport.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday declared martial law in the country following Russia’s military operation.

NATO Secretary-General Mr Jens Stoltenberg said in a press briefing that “we have made it clear that we do not have any plans and intentional deploying NATO troops to Ukraine.”

Russian authorities said they had scored successes in the first few hours of the operation with more than 70 ground infrastructure facilities belonging to Ukraine being incapacitated by strikes carried out by Russia’s Armed Forces.

— Xinhua/TASS


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