Huge traffic jam as desperate Ukrainians flee Kiev bombardment – PICTURES

Overnight Russia began a large scale assault on Ukraine, with the UN Security Council declaring it an act of war. Troops are said to have entered Ukraine from Russia, and explosions have been heard across the country.

Explosions were reported in multiple cities and outside the eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.

Images show the actions of Kiev residents in the aftermath of the attack .

Roads out of the city are jammed with cars as families flee to safer territory.

Residents in the under-siege country have been warned not to panic but a state of martial law has been declared.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky urged residents to stay calm.

During an address to the country early on Thursday, he asked residents to stay at home unless they are involved in critical work.

He said: “Stay calm, stay at home, the army is doing its work.”

He continued: “Don’t panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine.”

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“It’s not clear the scale of the attack that is underway but we do know it is serious.

“Fear is taking hold of people, they’re trying to get out but at the moment they can’t because it is gridlocked.”

Inside Ukraine’s capital, the streets have been described as “eerily quiet” although large queues have formed at ATMs as news of the invasion spread.

Early on Thursday morning, Kiev’s Metro system was inundated with people as residents battled to board trains to flee the city, some of whom were carrying bags and suitcases.

Mr Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.

He said Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine, but the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.

The Russian leader also warned other countries any attempt to interfere with the Russian action will lead to “consequences they have never seen”.