Fighting Escalates As Russia Bombards Ukraine

Russia has launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since Second World War and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.

The attacks began after President Vladimir Putin of Russia said in a televised address that he had approved a special military operation.

The move came after Moscow earlier recognized rebel-held territories in Luhansk and Donetsk and said they had asked for its help.

Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities as Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders into the eastern Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, and landing by sea at the cities of Odesa and Mariupol in the south.

Russian troops attacked Ukraine from Belarus as well as Russia with Belarusian support, and an attack was also being launched from annexed Crimea.

Explosions could be heard before dawn in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv as gunfire rattled out near the main airport and sirens blared across the city.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said martial law had been declared and he appealed to world leaders to impose all possible sanctions on Russia, including on President Putin, who he said wants to destroy the Ukrainian State.