Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President announced that he would give weapons to anyone who wanted to defend the country from the full-scale Russian invasion. The invasion launched at approximately the same time that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a “special military operation” was underway.
While Putin told Ukrainian soldiers to give up and go home, he also has threatened 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. 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,” Zelensky said in a statement, per report.
Initially, Russian attacks against Ukraine targeted military and government facilities, airfields, and installations along the border, while videos posted on social media have shown large explosions. Belarus, which is aligned with Putin, also assisted Russia in attacking Ukraine.
Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers died in the initial volley of attacks, according to a senior Ukrainian official, and that number is likely to rise quickly 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.”
The world economy already began to suffer following the invasion, as 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. A top Russian official said 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 United States will not be left out, with its ordinary citizens feeling the consequences of the price increase in full,” said the official.