Ukraine’s government said it faced “a full-scale attack from multiple directions.” World leaders condemned President Vladimir Putin’s actions.
Chuhuyiv, in eastern Ukraine, was hit by bombs Thursday as Russian military forces attacked the country from several directions. Firefighters raced to extinguish a fire, first aid responders administered to the injured and residents mourned the dead.
Ukrainian forces were in “all-out defense mode” on Thursday to repel a multipronged Russian assault by land, sea and air. The Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down several Russian military aircraft, and civilians lined up at recruitment offices to take up arms against President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces.
More than 40 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and dozens were wounded in fighting on Thursday morning, said Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
The country’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said that Ukraine was facing “a full-scale attack from multiple directions” but that it “continues to defend itself” from the Russian advance.
Initial reports of the fighting suggested that Russian forces had crossed into Ukraine at multiple points, with helicopter-borne troops flying in under the cover of machine-gun fire, naval units coming ashore in the southern port city of Odessa and military vehicles crossing from Crimea, the peninsula that Russia seized in 2014.
Ukrainian forces said they had shot down several Russian fighters and a helicopter in an increasingly intense battle to maintain control over key cities, a senior Ukrainian military official said. Ukrainian troops had also repelled Russian advances on two major cities: Chernihiv in the north, near the Belarus border, and Kharkiv in the northeast, close to Russia, the official said.
In videos posted to social media, Russian military vehicles were seen on the outskirts of Kharkiv, the second largest city, where troops had set up checkpoints on a main road.
The Ukrainian army is badly outgunned and outmanned by Russian forces, but in one indication that it was mounting a resistance, two Russian armored personnel carriers were seen damaged, one crashed into a tree, in the eastern Ukrainian town of Shchastya early Thursday.
In Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine, about 100 men, ranging in age from their 20s to 50s, turned up at a military recruitment office even as the dull thuds of explosions could be heard from the direction of the town’s military airport.
They packed into a corridor and filled out forms to join the military, heeding a call from Ukraine’s defense minster, Oleksiy Reznikov, who asked all able citizens to immediately enlist with the country’s territorial defense units.
“The enemy is attacking, but our army is indestructible,” he said. “Ukraine is moving into all-out defense mode.”
Energy prices aren’t the only ones soaring. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and, together with Ukraine, it accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s total exports. Wheat futures were up nearly 6 percent on Thursday, bringing the year-over-year increase to 37 percent. The price increase will hurt developing nations, where people spend bigger fractions of their incomes on food, the most.
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