Amid reports of explosions, Putin says Russia has 'no plans' to occupy 'Ukrainian territories'

The Thursday morning incursion has been condemned by President Joe Biden and leaders throughout the West.

Updated: February 24, 2022 - 12:01am

As reports emerge from Ukraine about explosions throughout the country amid a Russian military incursion into Donbas, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has "no plans to occupy the Ukrainian territories." 

Putin reportedly made the claim after announcing a "special military operation" into the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. He described the operation as a response to "Ukrainian aggression."

Putin said that he does not aim to conquer the whole of Ukraine.

"We do not have plans to occupy Ukrainian territories," Putin said. "We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force."

"Circumstances require us to take decisive and immediate action," Putin said during a nationally televised early morning address in Moscow. "The People's Republics of Donbas turned to Russia with a request for help. In this regard, in accordance with Article 51, part 7 of the UN Charter, with the sanction of the Federation Council and in pursuance of the friendship treaties ratified by the Federal Assembly and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, I have decided to conduct a special military operation."

Putin warned other countries that any effort to interfere with the Russian action would lead to "consequences they have never seen."

His ultimate goal is “to protect the people who have been subjected for eight years to genocide by the Kyiv regime,” Putin said. He said that Russia would  "embark on a demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and handing over to justice those who committed numerous atrocities against civilians."

The Thursday morning incursion has been condemned by President Joe Biden and leaders throughout the West.