‘They Have Taken This Airport’: CNN Reporter Watches Live As Russian Forces Take Over Airport Outside Of Ukraine Capital

Twitter Screenshot/Natasha Bertrand/CNN

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CNN’s Matthew Chance watched live Thursday morning as Russian forces reportedly took over an airport just 15 miles outside of Ukraine’s capital.

“We are here at the Antonov airport, which is about 25 kilometers, 15 miles or so out of the center. These troops you can see over here, they are Russian airborne forces,” Chance explained. Video footage showed Russian troops appearing to conduct military operations outside the airport.

“They have taken this airport,” he said.

Chance said Russian troops were “defending” the perimeter of the airbase and had been there since the early morning preparing to take over and allow more troops to come in.

Chance said he spoke to the commander, who told him Russians are “now in control of this airport.”

Moments before Chance went live, Russian troops “were engaged in a firefight, presumably with the Ukrainian military, which says it is staging a counteroffensive to try and take back this airport,” the CNN reporter said. (RELATED: ‘Consequences You Have Never Seen’: Putin Warns The West About Interfering)

Buzzfeed’s Christopher Miller reported that Russian forces launched an air assault with Mi-8 helicopters on the airport, with Ukrainian officials confirming the attack and saying Russia has gained control.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced early Thursday morning that he had decided to conduct a “special military operation in Donbas.” The region is located in southeastern Ukraine and is occupied by two separatists groups, the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. Putin recognized both territories as independent in an anti-Ukraine speech Monday. Putin said he did not want to occupy Ukraine but “demilitarize and de-Nazify” it.

Despite Putin’s announcement of limited military operations in Donbas, Russian forces have pressed forward with a widespread bombing campaign, with explosions reported near Kyiv, Lutsk, Odessa, Kherson, Lviv and other locations outside of the Donbas region. The Associated Press reported Russian military vehicles were seen entering Ukraine from the north near Belarus and from Crimea in the south.