An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that the first wave Russia's "full-scale war" on the country had killed more than 40 people and wounded several dozen more. The adviser, Oleksii Arestovich, said he is "aware of nearly 10 civilian losses."
Immediately after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his "special military operation" in Ukraine early Thursday, Russia launched rockets and missiles across Ukraine. Ukrainian border guards then released footage of what they said were Russian tanks and other military vehicles entering Ukraine from Russia, Russian-occupied Crimea in the south, and Belarus in the north.
"The Russian military claimed to have wiped out Ukraine's entire air defenses in a matter of hours," The Associated Press reports, but "the Russian claims about knocking out Ukrainian air defenses and Ukrainian claims to have shot down several Russian aircraft could not immediately be verified. The Ukrainian air defense system and air force date back to the Soviet era and are dwarfed by Russia's massive air power and its inventory of precision weapons."
Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement that its "high-precision weapons disable only military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields, aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," calming that civilians and Ukrainian troops who surrender are not being targeted, The Washington Post reports. "Russia made similar claims during its 1994-96 military operation in Chechnya when it bombed cities and villages to quash a separatist uprising."