Russian media reports say Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that he had made the decision to hold a special military operation in response to the address of leaders of Donbass republics.

"People’s republics of Donbass approached Russia with a request for help.  In connection therewith, <…> I made the decision to hold a special military operation.  Its goal is to protect the people that are subjected to abuse, genocide from the Kiev regime for eight years, and to this end we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and put to justice those that committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals," Putin said in the television address, according to TASS.

Justice and truth are on Russia’s side, President Vladimir Putin noted.

"The welfare, the very existence of entire countries and peoples, their success and health are always originating from the strong root system of culture and values, experience and traditions of ancestors, directly depending on abilities to quickly adapt to continuously changing life, consolidation of the society, its readiness to consolidate and gather all forces together for moving forward," Putin said.

"Forces are always needed but they can be of different quality," the Russian leader said.  "And we know the real strength is in justice and truth that are on our side," he added. says Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen".

He accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia's demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees.

Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry has said it was targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure with precision weapons.

“Military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields, and aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being disabled with high-precision weapons,” the defense ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN has told an emergency Security Council meeting that Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine was targeting “the junta” in power in Kiev.

POLITICO reports that after Putin’s declaration of war just before 6 a.m. Moscow-time, the Ukrainian government reported missile strikes at military facilities in the cities of Kiev, Kharkov and Dnepr, as well as artillery fire on the border.

Interfax news agency, citing Ukrainian media outlets, says gunfire was heard near the main airport of Borispol in Kiev soon after Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine.