Why is Russia invading Ukraine - Russia begins invading Ukraine
Russia began a comprehensive military operation in the Ukrainian territory, Thursday morning, shortly after President Vladimir Putin announced this.
Explosions were heard in the capital, Kiev, and several Ukrainian cities near the front line, and along the country's coasts, at dawn on Thursday.
Explosions were also heard in Kharkiv, the second city of Ukraine, which is 35 km from the border with Russia.
Four powerful explosions were heard in the Kramatorsk border, which is the capital of the Ukrainian government in the east of the country, which has been in conflict with pro-Russian separatists for years.
Before that, explosions were also heard in the city of Odessa on blackbirds, and ambulance sirens in the streets of the Ukrainian capital.
Explosions were also heard in coastal Maripol, while residents of the city near the border with Russia reported hearing artillery fire on the city's eastern outskirts.
And the "Ukrainska Pravda" news website quoted an official of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, as saying that the Ukrainian military command centers in the cities of Kiev and Kharkiv were subjected to a missile attack.
Interfax reported that there had been missile attacks on military facilities across Ukraine, and that Russian forces had carried out landings in the coastal cities of Odessa and Mariupol in the south.
It also reported the evacuation of staff and passengers from Kiev's Boryspil airport.
On Thursday, Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian aircraft, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that his country was facing a "total invasion".
Russian media quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that it is not targeting Ukrainian cities with missile or artillery strikes, but rather attacking the infrastructure of the Ukrainian army with high-precision weapons.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his citizens to stay at home as much as possible.
"We are strong, we are ready for everything, and we will win," Zelensky said.