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Russia’s invasion has turned Ukraine into a nightmare of Molotov cocktails and civilians hiding in subway stations

February 25, 2022, 6:25 PM UTC

Russia invaded Ukraine early Thursday morning, kicking off one of the most serious military conflicts in Europe since WWII. 

In a televised address as the attack began, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that any attempt by other countries to interfere would “lead to consequences you have never seen in history.” 

At the time of this writing, Russian troops are moving towards Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that 137 Ukrainian civilians and military personnel had been killed in the country on the first day of the Russian invasion, and 316 Ukrainian citizens were reported injured, including Ukrainian children, after Russian forces attacked both a kindergarten and an orphanage in Okhtyrka, a small city in Sumy Oblast, Ukraine.

President Joe Biden has criticized Putin as a “tyrant,” and called Russia’s actions a violation of international law. On Thursday afternoon, Biden announced new, tougher sanctions against Russia he said would “impose a severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time.” 

As events unfold in Ukraine, social media is buzzing with new coverage of real-time casualties and the crippling effects of Russia’s military invasion on civilian life. 

Here’s what has happened in Ukraine so far: 


Scenes of invasion: Ukrainians feel the impact of Russian aggression

Ukrainians take shelter as Russian invades and casualties rise. View the gallery below to see the latest in Ukraine.

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Russians open fire on Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island

A Russian warship opened fire on 13 Ukrainian border guards who refused to surrender on Thursday. Also known as Zmiinyi Island, the island, which is less than 0.1 square miles in area, is located in the Black Sea

The Russian warship threatened the Ukrainian soldiers with open fire unless they surrendered, according to the audio of the exchange. The final known words from the battle heard on a recording were from a Ukrainian soldier telling the Russians, “go f— yourself,” CNN reported.

Although initial reports were that all the soldiers had died, and Ukraine’s president confirmed this at the time, the Ukrainian Navy said on Feb. 28 that the soldiers were “alive and well,” and were forced to surrender, CNN reported.

Newborns in the ICU were moved to bomb shelters to keep them safe

Newborn babies from the neonatal intensive care unit from a hospital in the city of Dnipro were moved to a bomb shelter on a lower level on the building for their own safety on Thursday, according to The New York Times

Dnipro was hit by missile strikes as Russia’s invasion of the country began early Thursday morning.

The Ukrainian government is telling citizens to make their own Molotov cocktails 

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malar called on Ukrainians to “resist” the Russian invasion with Molotov cocktails or rifles in a Facebook post, on Thursday night, The Washington Post reported. 

After Malar’s announcement, Google searches for instructions on how to make molotov cocktails spiked on Friday. A popular search item in Ukraine was also “how to make a molotov cocktail in the forest,” The Washington Post reported

Molotov cocktails, also called “poor man’s grenades,” are petrol bombs in which glass bottles are filled with flammable liquids—usually gasoline—with a cloth fuse that is then ignited. 

Ukrainian citizens are fleeing to subway stations for safety

Ukrainian citizens are hiding from Russian airstrikes in subway stations, which are being used as impromptu bomb shelters. 

“These people are frightened. They’re confused. They are desperately uncertain about what they’re supposed to do, how long they take shelter here and where they go from here,” CNN senior correspondent Clarissa Ward reported from a crowded Ukrainian subway station.

This story has been updated to reflect recent developments about Snake Island

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