LONDON, February 24. /TASS/. Ukrainian airfields, military headquarters and command centers have been hit by cruise missiles and artillery, the Guardian newspaper reported citing the combat command of Ukraine’s armed forces on Thursday.
"According to Ukrainian officials, the initial wave of strikes appeared to involve cruise missiles, artillery and airstrikes which struck military infrastructure and border positions, including airbases," the newspaper said. It also reported that at least seven "powerful" air strikes hit Vasilkovsky airfield near Kiev. "At least seven "powerful" airstrikes on Vasilkovsky airport outside Kyiv, where Ukraine's military fighter bombers are kept, Kyiv command says," the daily’s correspondent in Kiev Luke Harding wrote on Twitter.
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.