Speed Reads

'we are ready for everything'

Zelensky declares martial law in Ukraine, urges citizens to stay calm

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law on Thursday after Russia launched a "special military operation" in the country.

In a brief video posted on social media, Zelensky said Russia has "conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine. We're introducing martial law on the whole territory of our country."

Zelensky said he has talked to President Biden, and the United States has "already started uniting international support" for Ukraine. He urged people to "keep calm. Stay at home if you can. We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defense and security is working."

It's important for people not to "panic," he continued. "We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine."

The White House also released a statement about Biden's phone call with Zelensky, saying the president condemns the "unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces." Biden briefed Zelensky on "steps we are taking to rally international condemnation," and was asked to "call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin's flagrant aggression and stand with the people of Ukraine." The White House said Biden will meet with G7 leaders on Thursday morning, and the U.S. and allies will impose "severe sanctions on Russia."

Immediately after Putin announced that he authorized a "special military operation" in Ukraine, Biden released his first statement of the night, saying Putin has "chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring."