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Caixin report: Beginning of the end for post-Cold War global order

Russia attack on Ukraine grows out of mounting unease over NATO's expansion east

 A Ukrainian serviceman holding a weapon in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Feb. 25.    © Reuters

At 4 a.m. on Feb. 24, when Russian missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, the post-World War II global order faced its most severe challenge -- far more so than the Balkans crisis of the 1990s and the regional wars in eastern Ukraine since 2014.

Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" to "demilitarize" Ukraine in a nationally televised speech, multiple cities in Ukraine came under attack from three sides by land, sea and air. Massive explosions were heard in Kyiv, and street fighting broke out early Sunday in the second-biggest city, Kharkiv.

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