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At least 137 Ukrainians killed on first day of Russian invasion

At least 137 Ukrainians killed on first day of Russian invasion

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky said 137 Ukrainians died on Thursday after his country came under a large-scale attack from Russian forces, the biggest on a European state since the Second World War.

He called them "heroes" in a video address released early Friday in which he also said hundreds more have been wounded.

Zelensky says that despite Russia's claim it is attacking only military targets, civilian sites also have been struck. In his words: "They're killing people and turning peaceful cities into military targets. It's foul and will never be forgiven." The president said all border guards on Zmiinyi island in the Odesa region was killed on Thursday. Ukraine's border guard service earlier in the day reported that the island was taken by the Russians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday sprang an unpleasant surprise as he launched a full-scale invasion in Ukraine where major cities - including the capital city of Kyiv - came under military strikes.

Visuals of destruction flooded social media as world leaders expressed horror and made urgent appeals of restraint and calm.

The US has said that President Putin has grander ambitions than Ukraine.

The invasion of Ukraine has invited severe economic sanctions on Russia. In a speech from the White House, US President Joe Biden said four more banks -- including the two biggest, Sberbank & VTB -- would be hit with sanctions by Western sanctions. In addition, export controls slapped on sensitive components will "cut off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports."

The penalties will be severe, and will have lasting impact on Russia's economy, Mr Biden said. "Those measures, on top of a raft of other sanctions already announced this week, will make Putin "a pariah on the international stage," he said.

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TAGS:Russia-Ukraine tensionsPutin-Zelensky
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