MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

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He said the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a claim the U.S. had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion.

U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine and said the world will “hold Russia accountable.”

A full-blown Russian invasion could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

And the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world.