KYIV, Ukraine (WRBL) — Conflict arises in Europe this evening after Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in eastern Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.

Ukraine has declared a state of emergency as the threat of war looms.

Within the last hour, explosions have been reported in two cities, including the Ukranian capital of Kyiv.

In an early morning televised address, Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine, “clashes are inevitable.” Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to, “consequences they have never seen.”

White House officials say President Biden is closely monitoring the situation. He released the following statement shortly after reports were made of the attack on Ukraine.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President 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, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable. 

I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security. We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”

—President Biden

The president has repeatedly pledged to sanction the Russian economy and Putin allies in retaliation for a further invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier tonight, a state department spokesperson said diplomacy appears to be off the table.