Putin announces special military operation in Donbas

In a message to Russians at 5:50 a.m., Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had decided on a special military operation in Donbas.

“Circumstances force us to take decisive and immediate action. The Donbas People’s Republics have appealed to Russia for help. In this regard, in accordance with Section 7 of Article 51 of the UN Charter and in implementation of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic ratified by the [Russian] Federal Assembly, I have decided to launch a special military operation,” said Putin in a televised address.

The head of state noted that Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine, but Moscow will seek its demilitarization.

He added that Russia could not feel safe, develop, or exist under constant threat from Ukraine, noting that NATO’s appropriation of Ukraine was unacceptable.