Tanks and troops are believed to have poured into the former Soviet state on the orders of Vladimir Putin overnight, with airstrikes launched against key targets, including the capital Kyiv.
In an address to the British public, Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “wanton and reckless aggression” and pledged Ukrainian freedom would not be “snuffed out”.
But despite the deadly incursion it is not too late to return to the negotiating table, according to one County Durham MP.
“A war in Europe is a threat to global peace and security,” said Grahame Morris, who has represented Easington since 2010.
“Our international order depends on respecting national sovereignty and security.
“Russia should immediately withdraw troops, and NATO should offer a route to de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.
“Russia cannot safeguard its security through aggression and compromising the security of its neighbour.
“Miscalculation does not have to lead to war and damaging economic sanctions.
“Russia must know they can return tanks and troops across the border and discussions do not have to be replaced with conflict."
Leaders of the UK, US and other nations are reportedly preparing a package of sanctions to “hobble” the Russian economy in response to the attacks.
Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Shadow Education Secretary, called on anyone who opposed the “jackboot of tyranny” to side with Ukraine.
The Kremlin has claimed it is only targeting Ukrainian air bases and military assets, not populated areas, and denied claims it planned to occupy the whole of Ukraine.
However, while President Putin has been urged to march his forces out of the country, some campaigners have called for a similar de-escalation by Westerm powers.
A spokesman for Stop the War North East said: “We call on Russian troops to be withdrawn, but we are also demanding our government stops sending troops and arms to the region, talking down diplomacy and whipping up tension.
“We also demanding an end to the NATO expansion that has done so much to stoke this crisis and a lowering of tension through nuclear arms reduction, other arms control measures and a return to the Minsk accords and a withdrawal of British troops and arms from the region.”