15 Heartbreaking Photos Of Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a televised address last night in which he said a “specialized military operation” would start in Ukraine, and he asked Ukraine’s forces to lay down their weapons and go home. Since then, news outlets have reported explosions in multiple Ukrainian cities and warning sirens blasting in the capital. In response, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister called Russia’s actions a “full-scale invasion.”

Woman wearing a face mask holds a sign that says Go Home
Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

1. As the politics are debated on the world stage, life inside Ukraine is growing tense. Traffic leaving Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, is heavy as residents try to flee following pre-offensive missile strikes.

Heartbreaking Photos Of Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine
Pierre Crom / Getty Images

2. Due to the conflict, Ukrainian officials are calling the region’s airspace “high risk” for travel, and closed down all of the country’s commercial flights.

FlightRadar24 website, an online flight tracker shows no aircrafts flying over Ukraine after the Russian attack.
Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

3. Meanwhile, smoke was seen rising in and near multiple cities before dawn, and large-scale explosions could be heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.

Smoke rise from an air defense base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
Evgeniy Maloletka / AP

4. Subway stations throughout the country have been turned into impromptu bomb shelters. Families seeking shelter have begun to pile into stations, bringing along young children and pets. Ukrainian officials have announced that despite curfews being implemented, metro stations will remain open for shelter.

A woman reacts as she waits for a train trying to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
Emilio Morenatti / AP

5. Long lines of cars have been spotted outside of gas stations as citizens prepare to fuel up prior to evacuation, amidst fears that fuel will soon be rationed.

Cars line up waiting to get gasoline outside a gas station in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
Emilio Morenatti / AP

6. Ukrainians crowd subway stations as they attempt to evacuate Kyiv. Mayor Vitali Klitschko declared a state of emergency in the city, which currently includes a curfew and a strict entrance and exit plan, but could potentially expand to restrict vehicle movement and public gatherings.

People walk in a subway to get a train as they leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine
Emilio Morenatti / AP

7. Throughout the country, people are lining up to withdraw money from ATMs. CNN reported that banks are running out of cash, and people are struggling to use apps for transactions as many bank branches have closed down.

People line up to withdraw their money from an ATM in Kyiv, Ukraine
Efrem Lukatsky / AP

8. As air raid sirens rang, one woman was seen clutching a cross as she prayed on Independence Square in Kyiv.

A religious woman holds a cross as she prays on Independence square in Kyiv in the morning of February 24, 2022
Daniel Leal / AFP via Getty Images

9. In neighboring Hungary, residents living near the Ukrainian border are setting evacuation plans in motion. The United Nations has sprung into action, setting up refugee operations in both Ukraine and neighboring countries. The agency also asked countries to open their borders for refugees.

People line up to put their luggage in a car as they flee from Ukraine at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border
Bernadett Szabo / Reuters

10. The growing conflict has sparked protests around the world. Outside of the Russian consulate in Istanbul, demonstrators held pro-Ukrainian signs that read #StopPutin and labeled the Russian President a “bloody killer.” According to the Washington Post, US officials worry that the invasion could leave thousands dead.

Pro-Ukraine people shout slogans during a small protest outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
Francisco Seco / AP

11. Similar protests were seen in London where residents took over Downing Street to stand against Russia’s invasion…

Ukrainians hold a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside Downing Street, central London
Stefan Rousseau – Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

12. …and crowds gathered outside of the Dutch parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, as well.

A demonstrator displays a placard during a protest against Russia's attack on Ukraine, outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague, Netherlands
Piroschka Van De Wouw / Reuters

13. Emotions ran high during a protest in Berlin, where protestors cloaked in Ukrainian flags gathered.

Demonstrators hold signs during an anti-war protest in Berlin, Germany
Ntb / Reuters

14. In Paris, residents showed their support by painting their faces in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Russian officials say they plan to press criminal charges against any Russian citizens who participate in anti-war protests.

A woman cries as she has her face painted with the colors of Ukrainian's flag during an anti-war protest in front of the Russian embassy in Paris
Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

15. In the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which militants have re-named the Donetsk People’s Republic, children walk past apartment buildings that locals say were damaged by the attacks and recent shelling.

A girl walks past an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling
Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters

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