(PresidentialInsider.com)- Over the weekend, the New York Times published new satellite images of Russian troop movements along Ukraine’s eastern border that revealed a shift in deployment.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognized the independence of the eastern Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and ordered Russian “peacekeepers” into the region.
Then three days later, in the largest military operation in Europe since the Second World War, Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air, and sea.
During a televised address from the Kremlin before the invasion began, Vladimir Putin announced he had ordered “a special military operation” ostensibly to protect the Russian citizens in Ukraine who are a target of “genocide.”
Putin vowed that Russia would “strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.” He claimed Ukraine was a threat to Russia’s safety, development, and existence, and argued that any bloodshed “will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine.”
Missiles were fired on Ukrainian cities. Columns of Russian troops began pouring over the borders into the eastern Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Luhansk regions while Russian troops made sea landings on Odessa and Mariupol in the south. To the north, Russian troops crossed from Belarus into neighboring Ukraine.
By Friday, missiles were pounding Kyiv as Russian troops advanced on the Ukraine capital.
A senior Ukrainian official confirmed Russian forces would be outside of Kyiv later on Friday and Ukrainian troops were defending positions despite being outnumbered.
Dozens have been reported killed and an estimated 100,000 people have fled during the fighting.
Both US and Ukrainian officials confirm that Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the current government, which Putin believes is a “puppet” of the United States.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky again pleaded with western allies for help, arguing that the sanctions imposed so far were not enough.
In a video message Friday, President Zelensky said that Putin “has marked me down as the number one target.” But he has vowed to stay in the capital.