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The Russian Assault on Ukraine Poses Huge Risks for the Rest of Europe

It could also endanger the world

The Russian military launched a multi-pronged assault on cities throughout Ukraine early Thursday morning, defying months of diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and its allies to deter the invasion, and triggering the greatest military crisis on the European continent since the Cold War. U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the attacks as “unprovoked and unjustified” and said, “The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Beginning in the predawn hours, explosions struck Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, and other major cities as air raid sirens rang out. Cruise missiles hit airfields, military depots and the headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces in the east of the country, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. U.S. officials believe the air attacks were the first facet of a phased operation that would be followed up by a ground invasion involving more than 150,000 Russian forces that have been amassing on Ukraine’s borders since late last year.

The large-scale military action began immediately after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a “special military operation” with the goal of executing a “demilitarization” of Ukraine, suggesting that Moscow did not intend to stop until the country’s armed forces had capitulated. That would mark the end of Ukraine’s post-Soviet independence and its three decades as a fledgling democracy, one in which Putin’s longtime allies still hold seats in parliament.

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