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Civil defense sirens being sounded in Kiev — TASS correspondent

Explosions are periodically being heard outside the city

KIEV, February 24. /TASS/. Civil defense sirens are being sounded in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday morning, a TASS correspondent reports from the scene.

Explosions are periodically being heard outside the city.

As the TASS correspondent reported earlier, a large number of cars is leaving Kiev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported later on Thursday that the Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that the Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.

Civilians are not threatened, it assured.