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Ukraine To Give Weapons To Anyone Who Wants To Defend Country From Russian Invasion
TOPSHOT - Residents attend an open training organised for civilians by war veterans and volunteers who teach the basic weapons handling and first aid on one of Kiyv's city beaches on February 20, 2022, amid soaring tensions with Russia.
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday morning that he would give weapons to anyone who wanted to defend the country from the full-scale Russian invasion that was launched during the early morning hours which came at approximately the same time that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a “special military operation” was underway.

Putin told Ukrainian soldiers to give up and go home while threatening the U.S. and NATO that if they intervene “Russia will respond immediately, and you will have consequences that you never have had before in your history.”

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Zelensky said in a statement. “We will lift sanctions on all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country as part of territorial defense with weapons in hands.”

The initial wave of Russian attacks against Ukraine targeted military and government facilities, airfields, and installations along the border and large explosions were seen in videos posted on social media. Ukraine said that Belarus, which is aligned with Putin, assisted Russia in attacking Ukraine. A senior Ukrainian official told The Wall Street Journal that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers died in the initial volley of attacks. That number is likely to quickly rise as Russian ground forces entered Ukraine and Russia has launched attacks against targets in multiple cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mariupol, and others. Zelensky announced that he was imposing martial law “across the entire territory of our state.”

Oil prices skyrocketed to more than $100 per barrel, Dow futures plummeted 800 points, and Bitcoin lost as much as 8.6% of its value following the invasion. A top Russian official responded to relatively weak sanctions from Democrat President Joe Biden against Russia by effectively saying that Americans would feel the repercussions of the sanctions because Russia would raise the cost of gas. “There is no doubt that the sanctions introduced against us will hit global financial and energy markets,” the official said. “The United States will not be left out, with its ordinary citizens feeling the consequences of the price increase in full.”

Leaders from around the world issued statements condemning Putin for launching the attack while Ukraine pleaded for help at the United Nations. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the United Nations General Assembly, “We urge member states to use all available means to protect Ukraine and deter Russia.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the organization will “meet to address the consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions” and that NATO would “do all it takes to protect and defend all Allies.”

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