Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “military operation in eastern Ukraine”.
In a televised address to the Russian people the president said clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces are “inevitable” and “only a question of time”.
He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Putin said the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”
Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.
Explosions have been heard near the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the Daily Mail reported.
Residents in the city, which is located in south eastern Ukraine, were woken up at 3.30am local time by blasts 50km from the Russian border.