First photos from the Ukraine frontline: Harrowing images of Russia's invasion

24 February 2022, 12:33 | Updated: 24 February 2022, 15:38

Images lay the cost of Putin's invasion on ordinary people
Images lay the cost of Putin's invasion on ordinary people. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Harrowing photos from the frontline in Ukraine have emerged – laying bare the cost to ordinary people's lives as Vladimir Putin's forces invade.

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The Russian president sent his troops – massed at some 150,000 on the border – early on Thursday morning saying his goal was to "demilitarise" Ukraine.

Fears of a destructive war and civilian casualties were realised as swathes of Ukraine came under attack.

Ukrainian security forces accompany a wounded man after an airstrike hit an apartment complex in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine.
Ukrainian security forces accompany a wounded man after an airstrike hit an apartment complex in Chuhuiv, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine. Picture: Getty

Much of the state of the conflict is unclear, with contrasting reports and unverified claims of casualties and Russian attacks.

But what is clear is how innocent civilians have already been caught up in the conflict.

Damaged buildings as shells fell in Belgorod, Russia
Damaged buildings as shells fell in Belgorod, Russia. Picture: Getty

Photos from the Kharkiv oblast, a region based close to the border with Russia, show wounded civilians, bloodied air attacks.

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Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine's Lugansk region
Ukrainian servicemen get ready to repel an attack in Ukraine's Lugansk region. Picture: Getty

Disturbing images show a man being carried from an apartment block in Chuhuiv, near the city of Kharkiv, by emergency workers, his leg covered in blood.

A woman is seen walking outside a complex with her head in a bandage, her head bleeding profusely.

Firefighters put out a blaze after airstrikes in Chuhuiv
Firefighters put out a blaze after airstrikes in Chuhuiv. Picture: Getty

Even as the Russians invaded, firefighters held their posts, putting out fires that appear to have been caused by air strikes.

Read more: 'I'm terrified': Tearful caller stuck in Kharkiv shares fear on frontline as Russia invades

Meanwhile, Ukrainian tanks rolled through the city as they prepare to defend their homeland.

Several photos were too graphic to be included.

Ukrainian servicemen of the 24th Brigade are seen outside of Zolote, Ukraine
Ukrainian servicemen of the 24th Brigade are seen outside of Zolote, Ukraine. Picture: Getty

Images also showed people scrambling to buy supplies from a supermarket in Kharkiv, crowded into a store and queuing at the checkout.

The invasion was ordered by Putin after he claimed Russian security was threatened by Ukraine, after his demands that it never join Nato were rejected.

A wounded woman is seen after an airstrike damaged an apartment complex in city of Chuhuiv
A wounded woman is seen after an airstrike damaged an apartment complex in city of Chuhuiv. Picture: Getty
A Ukrainian tank moves following Russia's military operation.
A Ukrainian tank moves following Russia's military operation. Picture: Getty

The move has been viewed as the West as an attempt to keep Ukraine under Russian domination and has been strongly condemned by Western leaders.

Joe Biden said the world will hold Russia to account as Boris Johnson said the invasion was a "catastrophe" for Europe. and insisted Putin's "barbaric" must fail. Further, tougher sanctions, which have long been threatened, are now expected.

Putin says his aim is to disarm Ukraine, and had recognised two breakaway regions in the east of the country, in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukraine's military says it downed six military planes and that 50 Russians have been killed.

Airstrikes hit the city of Chuhuiv, near Kharkiv in Ukraine
Airstrikes hit the city of Chuhuiv, near Kharkiv in Ukraine. Picture: Getty
Ukrainians rush to buy supplies at a supermarket in Kharkiv - just 40km from the Russian border
Ukrainians rush to buy supplies at a supermarket in Kharkiv - just 40km from the Russian border. Picture: Getty

Moscow denied the claims about its aircraft getting shot down. Instead, it claimed it had suppressed Ukraine's air defences.

Ukrainian media has reported that hundreds may have already died and claimed a Russian invasion of the coastal cities of Odessa and Mariupol is under way, while Ukraine's estimate on Thursday morning put the death toll at 40.