Russia was "forced to" invade Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, suggesting he had no other option but to order what he has called a special operation against its neighbor.
In a televised meeting with business leaders, Putin said all of Moscow's previous attempts to change the security situation had come to nothing.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction that its attack on Ukraine will bring.
Putin told Alexander Shokhin, the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, that Moscow had been forced into taking action and knew that sanctions would follow.
He said that there was no other way to defend his country amid "risks that threatened Russia's very existence."
"The West didn't budge on our security demands. We didn't have any other option," he added. "We do not seek to harm the world order."
"We all understand the world we live in and were prepared in one way or another for what is now happening from the point of view of sanctions policy," Putin said. "Russia remains a part of the global economy."
Shokhin said Russia should stimulate extra demand for government debt from private investors, given new Western sanctions on Russian state bonds, warning new sanctions would be tougher than previous ones and may disrupt logistics and supply chains.
He also urged Western nations not to apply sanctions on climate projects.
"I want to thank you for what has been done so far in rather difficult conditions," Putin told Shokhin.
The Russian military launched the much-anticipated invasion of Ukraine earlier on Thursday, as Putin ignored international condemnation and sanctions and threatened other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to "consequences you have never seen."
Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa as world leaders decried the start of the invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.
Russian military columns crossed the border into Ukraine toward Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, the Ukrainian border guard service said, in what appeared to be an assault along the entire border with Russia.
The head of the Ukrainian military said Thursday he had received orders from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to repel the Russian invasion of his country.
"The supreme commander the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave orders to inflict maximum losses against the aggressor," Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Valeriy Zaluzhny said.
Earlier on Thursday, Zelenskyy introduced martial law, saying Russia had targeted Ukraine’s military infrastructure and explosions were heard across the country.