In the early morning hours of 24 February 2022, Russian military forces began an invasion of Ukraine shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia will conduct a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Russian military forces subsequently launched airstrikes in multiple Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv — where Boryspil International Airport (UKBB/KBP) was targeted. Missile strikes and explosions have been reported across the country, including in Mariupol, Kramatorsk, Kharkiv and Odessa.
The latest reports indicate that Russian forces have so far entered the eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson, as well as the Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, its forces have destroyed 70 military installations in Ukraine, including 11 airfields. Russian forces have concentrated their attacks on Ukrainian military infrastructure, particularly air bases. In Hostomel, a town located nearly 40 km (25 mi) from the capital Kyiv, Russian helicopters launched an assault on Antonov Airport (UKKM/GML); a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Interior Ministry stated that Russian forces have seized control of the facility, although the Ukrainian military is reportedly attempting to take back control. Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down five Russian aircraft and a helicopter. A Ukrainian military aircraft carrying 14 people crashed in an area located about 20 km south of Kyiv amid reports of attacks in the city. In response to the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law countrywide and has mobilized about 36,000 military reservists. Thus far, at least 40 people have been reported killed and dozens more have been wounded.
The airspace over Ukraine is closed to civilian aircraft. In Kyiv, where emergency sirens have been ongoing since the initial blasts, authorities are urging residents to relocate to bomb shelters. Heavy traffic congestion has been reported on westbound roadways as people attempt to flee the city. Elsewhere in the country, long queues have been seen at gas stations, bus stations and ATMs. Meanwhile, neighboring Moldova has declared a state of emergency and closed its airspace. Moldovan officials have already reported an increase in the number of people seeking to enter the country from Ukraine. Additionally, Lithuania has also announced a state of emergency for two weeks, pending parliamentary ratification.