In the hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced military operations against Ukraine, videos began to pour in creating a picture of the extent of Russia’s military assault.
Russian forces launched a variety of missile, rocket and artillery attacks on Thursday, as well as airstrikes from fighter jets and helicopters to soften Ukrainian defenses ahead of Russian armored and infantry advances.
One video appeared to show a Russian fighter jet firing missiles at ground targets in a residential area.
Many Russian missile strikes targeted critical sections of Ukrainian infrastructure. One video showed a strike on the Trypilska thermal plant near the capital city of Kyiv.
Another Russian cruise missile targeted the Ivano-Frankisk airport, which serves as both a civilian airport and Ukranian military airbase.
Another Russian missile strike was captured on security camera footage at a warehouse in Odessa.
Many Russian strikes were carried out with cruise missiles.
Many Russian missiles could be seen flying over residential areas in Ukraine.
A journalist captured footage of a Russian cruise missile flying overhead.
The Russian long-range strikes continued as Russian forces attacked across many areas along Ukraine’s eastern border.
Russian troops also poured into Ukraine from its northern border with Belarus. Russian troops had moved into Belarus in recent weeks under the pretense of holding joint military drills. The movement also appears to have opened up an additional avenue of attack, allowing Russian forces to attack the capital of Kyiv, located about 40 miles south of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
Dozens of Russian helicopters flying in from Belarus have helped carry out an airborne landing assault on the town of Hostomel, located just northwest of Kyiv.
Several videos showed the size of Russia’s airborne assault on Hostomel
Ukrainian forces had put up some resistance around Hostomel, using MiG-29 fighter jets and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to down multiple Russian helicopters, however, those Russian forces have taken the Antonov International Airport, which is located just 15 miles from Kyiv.
CNN shared footage of Russian airborne forces taking the Antonov Airport.
Even as Russian troops took the airfields in Hostomel, Ukrainian forces have continued to fight back, hitting the area with artillery strikes.
Russian tanks also supported the assault from Belarus. Footage taken Thursday showed columns of tanks and armored vehicles coming in from Ukraine.
The Russian armored forces reportedly crossed at the Three Sisters Checkpoint, which connects Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Fighting also took place along the Dnieper River, which runs south from Belarus through Ukraine and passes near Kyiv.
A video showed several Ukrainian T-64 tanks had been destroyed in fighting near the river.
Russian forces captured a bridge across the Dnieper in the southern region of Kherson. Russian military vehicles could be seen streaming in over the bridge.
Russian forces attacked a number of cities across Ukraine’s east.
In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, Russia began their assault with barrages of artillery and rocket fire.
Following the barrages, Russian ground forces advanced toward the city, where they were met by Ukrainian defenses.
Some Russian ground forces were ambushed on roadways leading to Kharkiv.
There appears to have been heavy fighting on the roadways leading up to Kharkiv, with both sides reportedly sustaining heavy losses.
One report from Kharkiv even indicated Ukrainian troops had repelled a Russian attack.
Footage showed military vehicles moving and the sound of gunfire as Russian and Ukrainian troops fought in the Kharkiv suburbs.
Hundreds of civilians crowded into a subway station in Kharkiv as the fighting continued.
Ukrainian air defenses also continued to fight back in Kharkiv on Thursday night.
The eastern region of Luhansk also saw heavy fighting Thursday. Luhansk has been an area Ukrainian military forces and pro-Russian separatists have contested for years. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document indicating Russian recognition of the sovereignty of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR or LPR). The LNR is a separatist enclave in the contested region. Putin also recognized the sovereignty of another separatist area, called the Donestk People’s Republic (DNR or DPR) on Monday.
On Thursday, Russian forces targeted the only thermal power plant in Luhansk still held by the Ukrainian side, cutting off heat and power to the cities of Schastia and Vrubivka.
Fighting progressed towards Schastia on Thursday and footage shared on social media showed troops pinned down by Ukrainian defensive fire.
Fighting also took place in the southern port city of Odessa.
A Ukrainian naval base in Odessa was heavily damaged and began to bur during the fighting Thursday.
The Russian strikes on Odessa appear to have been in support of an airborne assault on the city. Hundreds of Russian paratroopers could be seen dropping in over the city on Thursday.
Gunfire could be heard throughout Odessa on Thursday night.
In the southeastern port city of Mariupol, photos showed Ukrainian radar stations destroyed by Russian attacks.
Civilians have also been harmed in the attacks on Mariupol.
The southern region connecting the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine has also been a key target of Russia’s invasion.
Russian attack helicopters were seen flying into Ukraine from occupied Crimea on Thursday.
Russian armored forces also entered southern Ukraine through Crimea.
Within a day of launching its attack, Russian forces had reopened the North Crimean Canal, which served as the primary water supply for Crimea but which Ukraine had shut off after Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014.
Russian forces also destroyed dykes built to stop water flowing into Crimea.
Russian forces advancing from Crimea have appeared to have continued successes. Video taken on Thursday showed Russian forces entering Melitopol, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Crimea.