Putin declares war as explosions rock Ukraine capital of Kyiv Loud explosions were heard in Kyiv, Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Wednesday night, ending weeks of diplomatic stalemate and plunging Eastern Europe into a nightmare of violence and bloodshed

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The Russian leader claimed Russia was undertaking a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” the country under the guise Russia was defending itself. 

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Putin announced the operation in a live televised speech that aired before 6 a.m. local time, threatening countries that attempt to interfere with “consequences they have never seen. 

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Immediately following the speech, explosions were reported in the capital city Kyiv, Kramatorsk, Kharkiv, Odessa, and Mariupol 

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Ukrainian airspace was closed to civilian aircraft as the region was considered an active conflict zone. 

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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued an alert saying there is a risk of “both intentional targeting and misidentification” of civilian aircraft. 

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The country also imposed martial law Wednesday night as Russian forces launched offenses across the country 

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A nationwide state of emergency had been in effect, giving officials extra powers to impose restrictions.  

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Under martial law, military leaders are the absolute authorities of Ukraine’s civilians.

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Putin said the Kremlin has no intention of occupying the country, placing blame for any potential bloodshed on the Ukrainian “regime.” 

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International intelligence has long expected the Russian leader to use “false flag” operations to justify its aggression against Ukraine.