VIENNA, February 24. /TASS/. Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Zbigniew Rau and OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid condemned the Russian president’s decision to start a military operation in Ukraine, the Secretariat said.
"We strongly condemn Russia’s military action against Ukraine. This attack on Ukraine puts the lives of millions of people at grave risk and is a gross breach of international law and Russia’s commitments. We call for the immediate cessation of all military activities," the statement reads.
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 Russian troops were not delivering strikes against Ukrainian cities. It emphasized that Ukrainian military infrastructure was being destroyed by precision weapons.