IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Russia-Ukraine conflict updates: Biden unveils more sanctions after Russia takes Chernobyl

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday by land, air and sea after weeks of tense buildup and efforts from global leaders to find a diplomatic solution.

This event has ended. For more updates, read here.

288d ago / 4:15 AM UTC

Former Russian ambassador McFaul: 'This is a tragic day'

Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said Wednesday night that Russia's attack on Ukraine reminded him of Sept. 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II.

"This is a tragic day," he said during an interview on MSNBC. "This was an unprovoked attack of a democratic country."

McFaul's comments came shortly after initial reports of explosions near many major cities in Ukraine. Those explosions followed Russian President Vladimir Putin saying in a public address that he had approved military action in eastern Ukraine.

288d ago / 4:09 AM UTC

Ukraine 'will defend itself and will win' against Russian aggression, foreign minister says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said late Wednesday his country is prepared to defend itself against Russia, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to conduct a military operation in Eastern Ukraine "a war of aggression."

"Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine," Kuleba said in a tweet. "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."

288d ago / 4:07 AM UTC

Missile strikes have struck in Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Ukrainian official says

A series of explosions have occurred in the capital area of Kyiv, Ukraine's national police told reporters early Thursday local time.

NBC News heard blasts in the area shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of of a special military operation in eastern Ukraine.

288d ago / 3:43 AM UTC

Biden says Putin 'has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life'

President Joe Biden on Wednesday night said Russian President Vladimir Putin has "chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," as Russia announced the start of a special military operation in eastern Ukraine.

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," Biden said in a late-night White House statement. "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," Biden continued, adding that the U.S. and its allies and partners "will respond in a united and decisive way."

Biden is scheduled to meet with G7 counterparts on Thursday morning. After the meeting, Biden said he will also announce further consequences that will be imposed on Russia by the U.S. and its allies "for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security."

"We will also coordinate with our NATO allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance," he said. "The world will hold Russia accountable."

Biden's remarks came as Putin delivered an emergency speech early Thursday Moscow local time and amid an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on the escalating crisis.

288d ago / 3:36 AM UTC

Rep. Brendan Boyle: 'No doubt' about NATO's unity

Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., who just returned from NATO meetings in Brussels, said he is confident that the allied nations will remain unified in the face of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

“I have absolutely no doubt about both the unity and resolve of all 30 NATO member states,” Boyle said in a text message exchange with NBC News.

“Putin yearns for the old days of the Evil Empire," Boyle added. "He clearly possesses the former. We must not allow him to attain the latter.”

288d ago / 3:19 AM UTC

Putin announces start of a special military operation in Ukraine

Putin says Russia will conduct a military operation in eastern Ukraine, according to a translation by NBC News.

Putin delivered an emergency speech early Thursday Moscow local time that Russia. 

288d ago / 3:07 AM UTC

U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield tells Putin 'send your troops, your tanks, and your planes back'

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday night urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back troops as she reiterated support for Ukraine at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.

"We are here tonight because we believe, along with Ukraine, that a full-scale, further invasion into Ukraine by Russia is imminent," Thomas-Greenfield said. "Russia’s attack on Ukraine is tantamount to an attack on the UN and every member state in the chamber tonight."

Thomas-Greenfield urged Putin to "send your troops, your tanks, and your planes back to their barracks and hangars. Send your diplomats to the negotiating table. Back away from the brink, before it is too late."

"The United States, Ukraine, our allies and partners across Europe, UN officials, every other member of this Security Council – we have all repeatedly implored Russia to engage at the diplomatic table," she said. "Those calls were not heard. Instead, tonight, Russia has brought its people, the Ukrainian people, and the world to the brink of a conflict that will produce an untold amount of human suffering."

Russians should be asking themselves "how many Russian lives Putin will sacrifice for his cynical ambitions?," Thomas-Greenfield added. "We must confront this threat head on, in this council, in the UN, and in our capitals. The people of Ukraine are counting on us. Let’s not let them down."

288d ago / 2:59 AM UTC

Rubio predicts Russian attacks to begin 'in the hours to come'

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, predicted Wednesday night that Russia's first attacks on Ukraine would begin "in the hours to come," though he did not provide any evidence for his statements.

Rubio also predicted how Russia would strike air defense systems and look to get between the city of Kyiv and Ukraine's military forces in the eastern part of the country.

288d ago / 2:48 AM UTC

U.N. Secretary General urges Putin to halt attack on Ukraine

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres urged Putin to stop his troops from invading Ukraine in a speech on Wednesday night. 

Guterres said he never believed the rumors that Russia would invade and thought nothing serious would happen, but "I was wrong and I would like not to be wrong again today," he said during an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting. 

"So, if indeed an operation is being prepared I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart," said Guterres, according to a real-time UN translation. "President Putin stop your troops from attacking Ukraine, give peace a chance, too many people have already died." 

288d ago / 2:35 AM UTC
288d ago / 2:34 AM UTC

'Not thinking about the stock market': Why sanctions are unlikely to stop Putin

After months of threats, the United States and its allies moved swiftly to sanction Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine, a move President Joe Biden said amounted to “the beginning of a Russian invasion.”

The question now is whether those measures will do anything to damage — or deter — the Russian leader, who has taken Europe to the brink of a devastating new conflict.

The first salvo of Western sanctions targeted large Russian banks, oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin, a key gas pipeline and a host of other individuals. The European Union is set to unveil its own, with reports suggesting they may go even further.

But while leaders in Washington, Europe and Asia were able to present a united front against Moscow's aggression, officials and analysts say it's unlikely the sanctions will do anything to deter Putin from pursuing a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Read more here.

288d ago / 2:29 AM UTC

Ukrainian airspace clears out, airliners make u-turns

Ukrainian airspace was almost entirely clear of commercial air traffic on Wednesday night, with flight tracking services showing many jets making dramatic U-turns.

Ukrainian airspace was closed to civilian aircraft around 9 p.m. ET, according to a Notice to Airmen, which is an alert issued about sudden changes to airspace

Reuters reported that at least one air safety advocacy organization, Safe Airspace, recommended that no civilians flights fly over any part of Ukraine. According to Reuters, Russia also closed some airspace on the eastern border with Ukraine "in order to provide safety" for civil aviation flights."

288d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

'Truly horrifying': Ukrainian expats in the U.S. feel fear, anger — and guilt

Every morning these days, Lana Prudyvus wakes up with dread in the pit of her stomach.

Prudyvus, a tennis coach who was born in Ukraine and lives in California, feels “terrified” about what awaits on her cellphone — news alerts about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest announcement and text messages her father sends from their homeland about the developments there.

“In the last couple days, the situation has become worse and worse by the hour,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Putin is so unpredictable, and that’s the hardest part. We have no idea what’s going to happen next.”

Read more here.

288d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

Here are the latest updates from the Russia-Ukraine conflict

Just catching up on the news? Here is what you may have missed: