Russia invades Ukraine Latest News: Biden to address the nation

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WASHINGTON – The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military began from three main points, from south to north, opening up a multi-pronged operation that includes a push towards Kiev to overthrow the leadership of the Ukrainian government , U.S. defense officials said.

Russian forces, during the first hours of the attack early Thursday local time, launched more than 100 missiles of various types, mostly ballistic missiles, from land and Russian ships in the Black Sea, and piloted more than 75 heavy and medium fixed-wing aircraft. bombers, according to Pentagon officials’ assessments.

The airstrikes, which targeted several cities including Kiev, Kharkiv, Khorsen and Odessa, were followed by a ground incursion from Belarus in the north towards Kiev, the officials said. So far, the heaviest fighting has taken place around Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, officials said.

But “they are moving to Kyiv,” a senior defense official told reporters.

The move, officials said, is aimed at “decapitating” or overthrowing the Ukrainian government. As part of this, Russian forces will soon target population centers, the officials said, citing Russian force movements and US intelligence.

Russian forces have yet to enter the western region of the country, where many Americans and other refugees are fleeing, officials said.

In response to the Russian assault, the U.S. military and its allies are repositioning their forces to reassure members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on the alliance’s eastern flank, closest to Ukraine and of Russia, the officials said. This includes moving a total of six F-35 fighters to Estonia, Lithuania and Romania, the top defense official said.

So far, most Russian targets appeared to be military and air defense positions, including military barracks, munitions depots and airfields, officials said. US officials were unable to confirm the number of casualties on either side, but said the Ukrainian military was resisting the incursion.

So far, communications remain open, officials said, and there have been no indications of an amphibious assault, although Russia maintains at least six such ships, each carrying hundreds of troops, in the Black Sea.

US military officials had predicted in recent days that Russia was about to carry out a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade. The US intelligence, officials said, was accurate.

“We weren’t surprised by what we saw them doing, it was totally in line with our initial expectations,” the senior official said.

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