WAR: Russia invades as UN Security Council debates

Sergey Guneev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russia has invaded the rest of Ukraine, almost exactly eight years after seizing Crimea and the Donbas. Military action began late yesterday, with attacks in multiple directions as Vladimir Putin warned the West to stay out of it:

Russian troops reached the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and set up checkpoints on a main road on Thursday morning, according to videos posted to the messaging service Telegram. It appeared to be the farthest Russian troops had been seen penetrating into Ukraine. …

Ukrainian forces have shot down six Russian fighters and a helicopter in an increasingly intense battle to maintain control over key cities, a senior Ukrainian military official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to release information outside official channels. Ukrainian troops have also repelled, for the time being, Russian advances on two major cities: Chernihiv, in the north near Belarus, and Kharkiv, in the northeast close to Russia’s border, the official said. …

NATO will hold an emergency session Thursday morning to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was condemned as a “reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives,” Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, said in a statement. “This is a grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” he said, adding that “NATO will do all it takes to protect and defend all allies.”

The invasion started during a UN Security Council meeting that was naturally being chaired by Russia. The other members of the UNSC had called the emergency meeting in a last-ditch attempt to engage Moscow in a diplomatic solution, but ended up with egg on its collective face:

The emergency U.N. Security Council meeting was meant as an eleventh hour effort to dissuade Russia from sending troops into Ukraine. But the message became moot even as it was being delivered.

While diplomats at U.N. headquarters were making pleas for Russia to back off — “Give peace a chance,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implored — Russian President Vladimir Putin went on television in his homeland to announce a military operation that he said was intended to protect civilians in Ukraine.

Putin warned other countries that any effort to interfere with the Russian operation would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

The council, where Russia holds the rotating presidency this month, gathered Wednesday night hours after Russia said rebels in eastern Ukraine had asked Moscow for military assistance. Fears that Russia was laying the groundwork for war bore out about a half hour later.

“It’s too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation,” Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the council. “I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war.”

Reaction in the US quickly consolidated into united opposition and demand for Russia’s withdrawal. Members of both parties called for even stronger sanctions on Putin and his clique:

As Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “special military operation” in Ukraine, bipartisan lawmakers in Washington called on the U.S. to punish Russia.

Explosions could be heard in Kyiv not long after Putin’s pronouncement at 5:45 a.m. Moscow time. President Joe Biden responded to the Russian leader’s declaration, saying he would meet with G-7 leaders early Thursday and announce “further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia” for what he called a “needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.” …

As Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “special military operation” in Ukraine, bipartisan lawmakers in Washington called on the U.S. to punish Russia.

Explosions could be heard in Kyiv not long after Putin’s pronouncement at 5:45 a.m. Moscow time. President Joe Biden responded to the Russian leader’s declaration, saying he would meet with G-7 leaders early Thursday and announce “further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia” for what he called a “needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”

Unfortunately, this won’t end soon. We will have continuing coverage at Hot Air to keep up with all the developments. In the meantime, I’ll be filling in for our pal Hugh Hewitt on his syndicated radio show today (and tomorrow), airing from 6-9 am ET, live from the home studio deep in the heart of Texas! We will have a great lineup of guests and regular contributors:

  • Dr. Michael Oren, former Israeli deputy prime minister and ambassador to US
  • Former US Senator Jim Talent, now at the Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Washington Post foreign-affairs columnist and analyst Josh Rogin
  • National Journal’s Against the Grain columnist Josh Kraushaar

We’ll also take your calls to the show at 800-520-1234, and you can watch the show live at The Hughniverse. There’s a great chat room that goes with it, and lots of original content in the troll-free websurfing experience for subscribers. The audio also streams at HughHewitt.com.