Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he has decided to conduct "a special military operation" in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "republics" in east Ukraine's Donbass.
Putin said in a televised address to the nation that the "goal is to protect people who have been subjected to abuse, genocide by the Kiev authorities for eight years. To this end, we will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation."
Putin stressed that Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear powers on the planet and any potential aggressor will be completely defeated.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service