The Latest: Ukraine says Russian army attacked from Belarus

By AP News

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The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis :

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s border guard agency says that the Russian military has attacked the country from neighboring Belarus.

The agency said that the Russian troops unleashed artillery barrage as part of an attack backed by Belarus. They said the Ukrainian border guards were firing back, adding that there was no immediate report of casualties.

Russian troops have deployed to its ally Belarus for military drills, a move that the West saw as a prelude to an invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is about 75 kilometers (50 miles) south of the border with Belarus.

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BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has sharply condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine calling it “a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe.”

The chancellor said Thursday morning that “the Russian attack on Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law. It cannot be justified by anything.”

He added that “Germany condemns this reckless act by President Putin in the strongest possible terms.”

Scholz said in a written statement that “our solidarity is with Ukraine and its people. Russia must stop this military action immediately."

He added Germany would coordinate closely with others within the framework of the Group of Seven, NATO and the European Union.

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BERLIN — The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is telling air operators of a high risk to civilian aircraft over Ukraine, reminding air operators that “this is now an active conflict zone.”

In the bulletin issued early Thursday, EASA said that “airspace and critical infrastructure, including airports, are exposed to military activities which result in safety risks for civil aircraft. In particular, there is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft.”

It added: “The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a HIGH risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.”

It recommended that, “additionally, as a precautionary measure, operators should exercise extreme caution and avoid using the airspace” within 100 nautical miles of the Belarusian- and Russia-Ukraine border.

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UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Russia's attack on Ukraine — as he appealed for President Vladimir Putin to stop his troops — was “the saddest moment” of his five-year tenure.

The U.N. chief opened the emergency Security Council meeting by urgently appealing to Putin: “In the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia."

But during the meeting, Putin announced early Thursday that he was launching a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine.

Guterres later urged the Russian president to withdraw his troops and added: “In the name of humanity do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation, but with an impact we cannot even foresee in relation to the consequences for the global economy.”

“What is clear for me is that this war doesn’t make any sense,” Guterres said, stressing that it violates the U.N. Charter and will cause a level of suffering if it doesn’t stop that Europe hasn’t know since at least the 1990s Balkans crisis.

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BEIJING — Asian stock markets have plunged and oil prices surged after President Vladimir Putin announced Russian military action in Ukraine.

Market benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul fell 2% and Hong Kong and Sydney lost more than 3% Thursday. Oil prices jumped nearly $3 per barrel on unease about possible disruption of Russian supplies.

Earlier, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.8% to an eight-month low after the Kremlin said rebels in eastern Ukraine asked for military assistance.

Investors already were uneasy about the possible impact of the Federal Reserve’s plans to try to cool inflation by withdrawing ultra-low interest rates and other stimulus that boosted share prices.

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UNITED NATIONS — Ukraine’s ambassador at the United Nations has told the Security Council that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “declared war on Ukraine.” He also pressed his Russian counterpart to state that Russia will not shell and bomb Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said Wednesday night that if Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia was not in a position to give a positive answer, he should relinquish the presidency of the Security Council, which Russia holds this month.

The Ukrainian then asked for another emergency meeting of the Security Council, calling on the U.N. body “to stop the war because it’s too late to talk about de-escalation.”

Kyslytsya then asked if he should play the video of Putin announcing military operations being launched in Ukraine.

Nebenzia replied: “This isn’t called a war. This is called a special military operation in Donbas.”

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is condemning Russia for an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine. He promises that the U.S. and its allies “will hold Russia accountable.”

Biden says he plans to speak to the American people Thursday after a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders. More sanctions against Russia are expected to be announced Thursday.

In a written statement, Biden adds: “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.

In a televised address early Thursday, Putin says the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine.

He adds that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin says the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”

Putin also is warning other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action will lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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