Explosions heard in Ukraine shortly after Putin announces special military operation

“The world will hold Russia accountable,” Biden says in response to Putin's latest announcement

By Kelly McClure

Published February 23, 2022 11:15PM (EST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin ( Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin ( Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Shortly following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia plans to launch a military operation in eastern Ukraine, reports of explosions being heard in Kyiv are already circulating.

The United Nations Security Council conducted an emergency meeting following Putin's declaration, and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Warner is calling upon President Biden to "up the pain level," according to CNBC

Related: Putin formally deploys Russian combat forces into Ukraine

"President Biden has already imposed an initial tranche of sanctions, and it is now time for us to up the pain level for the Russian government," Warner said in a statement late Wednesday. "What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy not only for Ukraine, but for the Russian people as well. They will pay a steep cost for Putin's reckless ambition, in blood and in economic harm," he added. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued a separate statement saying "what is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy not only for Ukraine, but for the Russian people as well. They will pay a steep cost for Putin's reckless ambition, in blood and in economic harm."


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Biden himself stepped forward late Wednesday to say "President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering ... the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way."

According to a Reuters translation of Putin's declaration, reported in the CNBC breaking news report, the goal of this attack is the "demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine."

President Biden's full statement on the attack, made on Wednesday night, is in full below:

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. 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.

"I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security. We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine."

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Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends editor, and her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere

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Biden Putin Russia Ukraine