Ukraine’s president calls on citizens to fight

The Ukrainian president Zelenskyy has called on all citizens who are ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

The Ukrainian president also urged Russians to come out and protest against Moscow’s decision to invade its neighbour.

As multi-pronged attack on several Ukrainian cities begins, Kyiv accused Russia’s Putin of “war of aggression.”

Russian forces have unleashed an attack of Ukraine on the orders of Vladimir Putin, who announced a “special military operation” at dawn, amid warnings from world leaders that it could spark the biggest war in Europe since 1945.

Within minutes of Putin’s short televised address, at about 5am Ukrainian time, explosions were heard near major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv.

Ukraine’s interior ministry reported that the country was under attack from cruise and ballistic missiles, with Russia appearing to target infrastructure near major cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Dnipro.

“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. “Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military says about 50 Russian forces have been killed and six warplanes destroyed amid fighting in the country’s east.

Ukraine said earlier that at least eight people had been killed and nine others wounded by Russian shelling.