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How newspapers across the world covered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

It’s reportedly the greatest attack on a European state since World War II.

How newspapers across the world covered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
[Source Images: tjhunt/Getty; Ryhor Bruyeu/EyeEm; Rubberball/Nicole Hill/Getty]

On Thursday, Vladimir Putin’s steady march of Russian troops into Ukraine escalated into a full-scale invasion, with forces storming the country by land, air, and sea. News outlets have reported it’s the greatest attack on a European state since World War II.

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Minutes after Putin declared a “special military operation” in a televised broadcast, explosions and the sound of gunfire split skies over the capital of Kyiv just before dawn. As residents fled through traffic-choked highways, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called upon citizens to defend their country, promising arms to anybody willing to fight. More than 40 Ukrainian soldiers were reportedly killed in the early conflict, and dozens more were wounded. Just moments ago, Kremlin soldiers defeated local forces to capture the radioactive zone of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

The assault came after months of rising tensions as Russia amassed arsenals of tanks and artillery and strengthened its manpower along the border. But Putin has long itched to control Ukraine, which was once part of the Soviet empire before achieving independence in 1991. Diplomatic efforts and sanctions from the United Nations and Washington, D.C. ultimately collapsed, as did a last-ditch plea from Ukraine’s government hours before the attack: “Listen to the voice of reason . . . the Ukrainian people want peace,” Zelensky said in a public appeal to Moscow. Then, the missiles launched.

Here’s what the front pages of newspapers around the world looked like Thursday morning:

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But while most headlines communicated solidarity with Ukraine, some outliers have surfaced. Unsurprisingly, the sentiment in Pravda, the Russian state-controlled broadsheet, was markedly different:

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As was that of a tabloid in Serbia, a Russian ally often caught in the crossfires of Moscow’s Ukrainian campaigns:

Meanwhile, major Russian ally China’s state-controlled media made only brief, buried references to the invasion:

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And finally, there were those that—rather than acknowledging the humanitarian crisis—were pilloried for giving focus to this sort of trifling:

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Yet, despite it all, Ukraine still stands tall. Here, a recent magazine cover embodies its fighting spirit:

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