Russian armored columns pushed into Ukraine and airstrikes hit the country’s capital and dozens of other cities after President Vladimir Putin ordered an offensive that he said was aimed at toppling the government in Kyiv and demilitarizing the country.
“They are killing people and transforming peaceful cities into military targets,” Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a television address in Kyiv after midnight. “That’s villainous and will never be forgiven.”
Mr. Zelensky said Ukraine had sustained 137 dead and 316 injured on Thursday. He said Russia wasn’t only striking military targets but also civilian sites.
Roughly 100,000 Ukrainians have been displaced, according to estimates from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Ukrainian officials said Russia had attacked on a wide front along the country’s frontiers from Belarus to the north, Russia to the east and Russian-controlled Crimea in the south. Video posted by Ukrainian authorities showed tanks and armored personnel vehicles streaming through a border checkpoint.
President Biden called Mr. Putin’s move an unprovoked, unjustified attack. In remarks delivered Thursday afternoon, Mr. Biden said the U.S. would impose new sanctions on Russian banks and elites in the country. The U.S. Treasury Department said it was sanctioning Russia’s two largest banks, VTB and Sberbank.