Russia launched a large-scale military attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, with missiles targeting military facilities, airports and cities across the country in what has the potential to escalate into the largest land war in Europe since World War II.

The attacks expanded beyond the two separatist regions into full-scale war as explosions could be heard going off in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the north, Kharkiv in the east and Odessa in the south.

One Ukrainian government official reported that there have already been hundreds of casualties.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law.

“As of today, our countries are on different sides of world history,” Zelensky tweeted. “Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom.”

The full-blown attack followed Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s recognition of two Ukrainian breakaway regions as “independent,” and placed a Russian military operation for “peacekeeping functions” in the two regions after falsely claiming they were under attack from Kyiv.

“Strikes continue on peaceful Ukrainian cities,” wrote Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba in a tweet. “This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend and win. The world can and must stop Putin. It’s time to act – just now.”

Putin justified his actions by announcing in an overnight address that one of the separatist regions, the People’s Republic of Donbas asked Russia for help, and warned NATO, the U.S. and its allies of the consequences of interfering.

“If you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,” he said. “All relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me.”

“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,” President Joe Biden said on Wednesday night.

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