Multiple countries are planning to impose a state of emergency in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As first reported by new agency AFP, Lithuania will introduce a state of emergency. Lithuania does not share a border with Ukraine but it does share one with Belarus.
Belarus’s President Alexander Lukasheno reportedly said that Belarusian troops could potentially take part in the Russian military invasion, as per the ABC.
Both Belarus and Moldova (which shares borders with Ukraine and Romania) have now closed their airspace. NBC reports that Moldova will also declare a state of emergency.
AFP has also reported that over 40 Ukrainian soldiers and around ten civilians are believed to have been killed after Russia launched a “military operation” into Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning local time.
British publication The I also reported that 40 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. That information comes from an adviser to Ukraine’s presidential office but so far has not been independently verified.
In Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s speech condemning the invasion, he referenced unconfirmed reports of significant casualties.
“The Russian government launched a brutal invasion, unprovoked, on Ukraine and should be condemned for doing so. And Australia does,” he said.
“The footage that is emerging of missile strikes, air-raid sirens, and reports of hundreds of casualties, as yet unconfirmed are, sadly, not surprising given the events we’ve been witnessing for some time now, and have been warning about.”
Distressing imagery of the aftermath of a missile strike on Chuguiv has also emerged.
Horrific scenes across Ukraine today https://t.co/OYqjdxtwPu— Polina Ivanova (@polinaivanovva) February 24, 2022
Reporters on the ground say that there was an explosion in Kiev within the last hour.
Very loud explosion just heard in central Kyiv— Polina Ivanova (@polinaivanovva) February 24, 2022
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for any Ukrainians with military experience to come forward.
“Anyone who has military training — who have a military experience has to come to the Interior Ministry and make itself available for that to protect our population,” Zelenskyy said, as translated by the ABC.
“As of this morning, we have injured soldiers. Please give your blood to hospitals, give your blood to our defenders.”
He also tweeted requesting that Russians protest against the invasion.
“We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia,” he said.
“For all those who have not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it is time to go out and protest against the war with Ukraine.”
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General, called the invasion a “grave breach of international law”.
“I strongly condemn Russia’s reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives,” he said, as per CNBC.
“This is a grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security. I call on Russia to cease its military action immediately and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“NATO Allies will meet to address the consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions. We stand with the people of Ukraine at this terrible time. NATO will do all it takes to protect and defend all Allies.”
CNN reported that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland have triggered NATO Article 4. This means that the member state of NATO will consult each other about Russia’s invasion. Article 4 has only been invoked six times in NATO’s history.