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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

HEADLINES

* Russian forces invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, confirming the West's worst fears with the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin says his aim is to demilitarise and 'denazify' Ukraine.

* Missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities and explosions were heard near the capital Kyiv.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged all citizens prepared to defend the country to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

* NATO said it will take additional steps to strengthen the alliance's deterrence and defence.

* The European Union will freeze Russian assets, halt access of its banks to the European financial market and target "Kremlin interests" over its "barbaric attack", senior officials said.

* U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington and its allies would impose "severe sanctions" over what he called Putin's "premeditated war".

* Central European countries started preparations to receive people fleeing Ukraine.

* President Tayyip Erdogan told Putin that Turkey did not recognise steps against Ukraine's territorial integrity, Erdogan's office said.

* China rejected calling Russia's moves on Ukraine an "invasion" and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

* Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights.

* European stocks plunged 3% as investors dumped riskier assets. Russia's rouble hit an all-time low.

QUOTES

- "I have decided to conduct a special military operation... to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide," Putin said. "...We will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine."

- "Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

- "President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life... The United States and our allies and partners will be imposing severe sanctions," U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement.

I have decided to conduct a special military operation... to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide. We will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin

COMING EVENTS

* Biden will meet with his G7 counterparts Thursday to map out harsher measures against Russia.

* EU leaders will discuss further sanctions on Thursday.

* NATO ambassadors will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday.

* The U.N. Security Council will discuss a resolution condemning the invasion.

* European Central Bank policymakers hold what may have become a crisis meeting.

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