Developing Story: Russia|Ukraine crisis-World reacts to Russia’s Attack On Ukraine
Russian media reported quoting President Putin had given approval to a ‘special military operation’ in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
￼￼Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on February 24, 2022 [Aris Messinis/AFP]
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine has been swiftly condemned by several nations.
The authorisation by Putin was made at the same time as the United Nations Security Council met late on Wednesday for its second emergency meeting this week to urge de-escalation and return to diplomatic talks.
Russian media reported quoting Putin he had given approval to the operation in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where Moscow earlier recognised rebel-held territories in Luhansk and Donetsk and said they had asked for its “help”.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Putin had “launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine” and that peaceful cities were “under strikes”.
“This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now,” he tweeted.
￼A Ukrainian soldier talks with her comrades sitting in a shelter at the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory near Svitlodarsk, eastern Ukraine [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo]
President Joe Biden has condemned Russia for an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine while promising that his country and its allies “will hold Russia accountable”.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable,” he said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “blatant breach of international law” that “cannot be justified by anything”.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Russia’s actions, telling Putin to “bring your troops back to Russia”.
“In the name of humanity, do not allow a war to start in Europe which could be worst war since the beginning of the century with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation but with an impact cannot even foresee.”
￼UNSC embers are seen during an emergency meeting on the Ukraine-Russia situation at the UN headquarters in New York, US [Jason Szenes/EPA]
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the next steps.
“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” Johnson tweeted.
The bloc will hold Moscow accountable for the “unjustified” attack on Ukraine, the chief of the EU’s Executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said.
“In these dark hours, our thoughts are with Ukraine and the innocent women, men and children as they face this unprovoked attack and fear for their lives,” she said on Twitter.
In a statement, the EU said its leaders will discuss a further sanctions package on Russia at an emergency meeting later in the day.
These “further restrictive measures … will impose massive and severe consequences on Russia for its action,” it added.
￼The remains of a shell is seen on a street in Kyiv on February 24, 2022 [Sergei Supinsky/AFP]
The Atlantic alliance’s secretary general said Russia had “chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country.”
The attack “puts at risk countless civilian lives,” Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement, describing it as a “grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security.”
NATO ambassadors are to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday morning European time to discuss the attack.
Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a “barbaric act of aggression” and that his country will respond together with its allies,
“The Kremlin’s decision to launch a completely unprovoked attack is unacceptable and in contradiction to international law,” he posted on Twitter.
China rejected calling Russia’s moves on Ukraine an “invasion” and urged all sides to exercise restraint.
“You are using a typical Western media question method of using the word invasion,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson at China’s foreign ministry told reporters.
“China is closely monitoring the latest situation. We call on all sides to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from getting out of control,”
The Chinese embassy in Ukraine told its citizens in Ukraine to stay put at home as a precautionary measure, following the bombings of some Ukrainian cities.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki demanded an immediate reaction to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, seeking the “fiercest possible” sanctions.
“We must immediately respond to Russia’s criminal aggression on Ukraine,” Morawiecki tweeted.
“Europe and the free world have to stop Putin. Today’s European Council should approve fiercest possible sanctions. Our support for Ukraine must be real.”
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said “war is the worst-case scenario”.
“The task now, just as always, is to guarantee the security of Hungarian people,” Sjijjarto posted on his official Facebook page.
“Our embassy in Kyiv is operating, and ready to help Hungarians who are in the Ukraine right now.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said sanctions against Russia would become law Friday but would not take effect until the end of March.
He said the time was needed to give “opportunities for businesses that have had very legitimate operations and business interests in Russia and in the affected territories of Ukraine to be able to make changes to their arrangements.”
“The reason we’re doing this is there must be a price for the unprovoked, unlawful, unwarranted, unjustified attacks and threats and intimidation that has been imposed by Russia on Ukraine. This cannot be a consequence-free action by Vladimir Putin and the Russian regime,” Morrison said.
￼Police officers inspect the remains of a missile that fell in the street, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022 [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]
President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned Russia’s military attack against Ukraine, vowing Paris would work with allies to end the war.
“Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations,” Macron wrote on Twitter, saying Russia had made the decision to “wage war” on Ukraine.
“France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands by Ukrainians and is working with its partners and allies to end the war,” he added.
The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the Russian military operation in Ukraine and said he is in contact with allies from NATO to coordinate a response.
￼Ukrainian soldiers ride in a military vehicle in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 [Sergei Grits/AP Photo]
President Alexander Lukashenko said the Belarusian armed forces were not taking part in Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, the Belta news agency reported.
“Our troops are taking no part in this operation,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement called Russia’s attacks “unprovoked” and “a clear further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Trudeau said he would meet with partners from the Group of Seven to shape a collective response, “including by imposing sanctions additional to those announced earlier this week.”
“These reckless and dangerous acts will not go unpunished.”
￼Peole walk in a subway to get a train as they leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]
Iran urged its citizens residing in Ukraine to leave the country, Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
Iran’s embassy in Ukraine is currently working on obtaining flight permits for the evacuation flights given that the Ukrainian airspace is currently closed, ISNA added.
President Maia Sandu said Moldova would introduce a state of emergency and was ready to accept tens of thousands of people coming in from neighbouring Ukraine.
“We will help people who need our help and support,” she said.
In a statement, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani urged all parties to exercise restraint and to resolve all conflicts through “constructive dialogue and diplomatic means”.
“Sheikh Tamim also called the protection of civilians and the prioritisation of the humanitarian situation,” the statement said.
The Indian embassy in Ukraine said arrangements were being made to evacuate Indians since the Ukrainian airspace had been closed.
President Gitanas Nauseda said the Lithuanian parliament will decide whether to declare a state of emergency.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned Russia’s military actions and said Japan will respond in a speedy fashion together with the US and other allies.
“This Russian invasion stands to put at risk the basic principle of international order that forbids one-sided action of force in an attempt to change the status quo. We strongly condemn Russia, and we will respond speedily in cooperation with the US and other Western nations,” he said at his official residence in Tokyo.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES