(Breaking 911) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday night said he was instructing his troops to conduct a ‘military operation’ in Ukraine. Witnesses on the ground in Kyiv reported hearing explosions soon after the announcement.

“Russia cannot feel secure,” Putin said of Ukraine. “We have no other choice but to use the means we are about to announce.”

“I have declared a special military operation,” Putin added.

He also addressed the Ukrainian military directly, calling on the force to “lay down its arms.”

The operation will be aimed at ‘defending people living in the newly-recognized republics of Donetsk and Lugansk,’ state-run Russian media outlet RT reported.

Putin also threatened that any attempt to interfere with the Russian invasion would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

“I have a few words for those who could feel tempted to interfere with ongoing developments: whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history,” said Putin.

Martial law was imposed in Ukraine as the Russian troops moved in.

A full-scale invasion could spark a massive was on a scale Europe hasn’t seen since World War II.

White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden was monitoring the situation. “President Biden is closely monitoring the developments in Ukraine and he will continue receiving regular updates from Jake Sullivan, his National Security Advisor,” Psaki said, “He also spoke with his UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas Greenfield before the UNSC meeting this evening.”

Later in the evening, President Biden issued a statement on the ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ attack on Ukraine:

“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.”

“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said into an address to the nation. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News as the news broke, claiming the invasion wouldn’t have happened on his watch.