Early on Thursday morning, the U.S. State Department warned Americans trapped in Ukraine that they need to listen to sirens activated by local officials and monitor major mainstream news organizations to stay safe as Russia invades the country.
“If you hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated, immediately seek cover,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv wrote on Twitter. “If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings. If you are outdoors, immediately seek cover in a hardened structure; if that is not possible, lie down and cover your head with your hands. Be aware that even if the incoming missile or drone is intercepted, falling debris represents a significant risk.”
The statement said that official guidance could be found by monitoring major news outlets and warned that further Russian military action can occur at any time and without warning.
“U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Know the location of your closest shelter or protected space,” the statement continued. “In the event of mortar and/or rocket fire, follow the instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately. If you feel that your current location is no longer safe, you should carefully assess the potential risks involved in moving to a different location.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to the invasion by saying during an interview late on Wednesday night that if Russia continues to escalate then so will the U.S. and presumably NATO.
“And I hope that that knowledge may still act as a deterrent. But if it doesn’t, we’ve been clear that Russia will face massive consequences for its actions. And it will,” Blinken said. “This is a price that Vladimir Putin and Russia will pay for a long, long time.”
Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine during the early morning hours on Thursday 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.”
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 Ukrainian and Russia has launched attacks against targets in multiple cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mariupol, and others.
Oil prices skyrocketed to more than $100 per barrel, Dow futures plummeted 700 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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