Weeks on, the impact of the action which has been classified as an invasion has led to deaths and destruction of Ukrainian towns as Moscow moves to remove the government in Kyiv.
We look at some key facts about the man in the center of affairs, Vladimir Putin
1 – Full name, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, he is Russia’s second longest-serving leader having come to power in 2000. During that period he has served both as President and Prime Minister of Russia.
2 – He will be chasing the 31-year record of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin who was in charge between 1922 till 1953.
3 – Thanks to a change in the Constitution in 2020, Putin can potentially remain in power beyond his current term which ends in 2024. He is eligible to contest for two more six-year terms starting 2024 till meaning he can remain in power till 2036.
4 – Vladimir Putin is a one-time operative of KGB, the Soviet security agency. He entered politics after the collapse for the United Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR.
5 – Putin’s political career started in early 1990s when he worked as senior assistant to then mayor of St Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak.
6 – In 1997, he entered the Kremlin, Russian presidency, as head of the Federal Security Service and was subsequently appointed as Prime Minister.
7 – On New Year Eve of 1999, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned and put Putin in as president.
8- He has been with the Presidency since 2000 till date. Serving as Prime Minister between 2008 and 2016 under President Dmitry Medvedev.
9 – With respect to invading other territories, Ukraine is not Putin’s first foray. He also annexed Crimea in 2014 and reunited it with the Russian Federation.
10 – Putin divorced in 2013 with his wife of almost 30 years of marriage. She reportedly accused him of being a workaholic. Putin’s eldest daughter Maria is an academic who is specialized in endocrinology.