Putin had previously said that eastern regions of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists should be treated as independent and approved a military deployment into the country in what U.S. officials called an invasion.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that Moscow had launched an “unprovoked and unjustified attack.” Biden added late Wednesday from the White House that he would soon make an address on the situation and unveil new U.S. punishments for Putin on top of the financial sanctions he had announced in coordination with American allies earlier in the week.
“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… the world will hold Russia accountable,” Biden said. “Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”
More than 150,000 Russian troops have amassed along Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks.
Reporters in Ukrainian cities began reporting explosions shortly after the conclusion of Putin’s broadcast ― including in the country’s densely populated capital, Kyiv, and the crucial port city of Odessa.