Ukraine evacuating Moscow embassy

The announcement came hours after Russian forces launched an attack on the country

Ukraine has ordered the evacuation of its diplomats from Moscow, hours after Russian forces struck at sites across the country.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement on its website on Thursday morning, writing that it had “recalled Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Russia, Vasily Pokatilo, back to Kiev for consultations, and begun the evacuation of the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.”

Russia had previously announced on Wednesday that it was moving diplomatic staff out of its office in Kiev, the day before it began its offensive.

On Wednesday evening, the leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, breakaway states in eastern Ukraine that Putin officially recognized as independent on Monday, formally requested military assistance from Russia. Hours later, Putin authorized the use of force for an offensive in the Donbass, and in a televised address to the nation he claimed that the goal was to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he was imposing martial law and cutting all diplomatic ties with Moscow. He compared the attack to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in WWII, and called on the people of Russia to protest against the war at home, saying, “Russians will choose personally which path each of them will take. For all who have not yet lost their conscience, it is time to go the streets and protest against this war.”

Writing on Twitter, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that Russia was not only invading the east of the country, but that there was a “full-scale attack from multiple directions.”

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