In a televised address, Mr. Putin said the action comes in response to threats coming from Ukraine. He added that Russia doesn’t have a goal to occupy Ukraine. Mr. Putin said the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime.”
Many countries across the world have reacted strongly to the move, including the U.S., the U.K. The United Nations has made a direct and strong appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his troops from attacking Ukraine and “give peace a chance”.
Here are the latest updates:
Group of Seven leaders condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The German government, which currently heads the G7, put out a joint statement after a virtual leaders’ meeting on Thursday, vowing to bring “forward severe and coordinated economic and financial sanctions.”
It called “on all partners and members of the international community to condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, and raise their voice against this blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international peace and security.”
Putin threatens peace of whole planet: Romanian President
The President of Romania has condemned Russia’s “reprehensible” attack on Ukraine and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “threatens the peace of the entire planet.” Romania borders Ukraine and is a member of NATO and the European Union.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that Russia “chose the reprehensible and completely illegal path of massive armed violence against an independent and sovereign state.” Mr. Iohannis said that Romania, a country of about 19.5 million people, is ready to deal with economic and humanitarian consequences that the conflict could generate.
He stressed that Romania will not be drawn into the military conflict in Ukraine and said Romanian authorities will take “absolutely all the necessary measures” to ensure the safety of the country’s citizens.
No ‘plans’ to send NATO troops to Ukraine: Stoltenberg
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the alliance had no intention to send forces into Ukraine after Russia invaded its pro-Western neighbour.
“We don’t have NATO troops in Ukraine, and we don’t have any plans to send NATO troops into Ukraine,” Mr. Stoltenberg told a media conference after an emergency meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors.
German army ‘limited’ in Russia response, says commander
Germany’s army can do little to support the response to the Russian invasion, its chief said said Thursday, as the country’s ex-defence minister admitted that Berlin committed a “historical failure” in not bolstering itself militarily.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was defence minister in Angela Merkel’s cabinet said Germany had forgotten lessons from the past that “negotiation always comes first, but we have to be militarily strong enough to make non-negotiation not an option for the other side”.
“I’m so angry at ourselves for our historical failure. After Georgia, Crimea, and Donbas, we have not prepared anything that would have really deterred Mr. Putin,” admitted Mr. Kramp-Karrenbauer, referring to incursions carried out by Russia while Ms. Merkel was in power.
Her outburst on Twitter came as the chief of the German land army, Alfons Mais, wrote on a post on the social network LinkedIn that “the options we can offer to politicians to support (NATO) are extremely limited.”
Germany was criticised in the build-up to the invasion for refusing to deliver lethal weapons into the crisis zone, sending instead 5,000 helmets to Ukraine. The weapons export policy is a long-standing principle, which has its roots in the war of aggression led by the Nazis during World War II. - AFP
Erdogan denounces Russia invasion as ‘heavy blow’ to peace
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “heavy blow” to regional peace.
“We reject Russia’s military operation,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, calling it as a “heavy blow to regional peace and stability.” -AFP
UK condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine, will respond ‘decisively’
The United Kingdom on Thursday condemned the “path of bloodshed and destruction” chosen by Russian President Vladimir Putin with an invasion of Ukraine, promising decisive action with international allies as Russian forces launched an assault on Ukraine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the early hours of Thursday morning for an update and pledged that the west would not stand by as Putin waged a campaign against Ukrainian people.
“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” Johnson tweeted soon after the call.
“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The UK and our allies will respond decisively,” he said.
Russia should leave Ukraine alone, says Polish president
Polish President Andrzej Duda called on Thursday for halting military operations in Ukraine after Russia launched an invasion of the country.
"I call for halting military operations and leaving Ukraine alone. I will do everything so that what is happening in Ukraine can be stopped as soon as possible," Duda said after a meeting of Poland's National Security Council.
Finland is ready receive refugees from Ukraine, says PM
Finland is prepared to receive refugees from Ukraine, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday, as she strongly condemned the military action Russia has taken in Ukraine.
Marin estimated there could be a large number of refugees from Ukraine who could try to escape towards the European Union.
"(Finland's) ministry of interior for its part is preparing to receive refugees from Ukraine," she told reporters.
Both Marin and Finland's President Sauli Niinisto strongly condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine.
'I am against this war': jailed Kremlin critic Navalny
Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday he was against Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
"I am against this war," Navalny was heard saying in a video of the in-prison trial published by independent news outlet Dozhd. "I believe that this war between Russia and Ukraine was unleashed to cover up the theft from Russian citizens and divert their attention from problems that exist inside the country".
Germany threatens Russia with full sanctions package
The world must respond resolutely to Russia's invasion of Ukraine or later pay an even higher price, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday, pledging to unleash a "full" package of sanctions against Russia.
Adding that Ukraine had done nothing to merit Russia's invasion, she addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling him that he would never destroy people's belief in freedom and democracy.
"We woke up in a different world today," Baerbock told reporters. "We will launch the full package of massive sanctions against Russia ... If we do not take a firm stand now, we will pay an even higher price."
EU says Russia faces ‘unprecedented isolation’ over Ukraine attack
Russia faces "unprecedented isolation" over its attack on Ukraine and will be hit with the "harshest sanctions" the EU has ever imposed, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the "massive" sanctions "will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to key technologies and markets" and "freeze Russian assets in the EU and stop the access of Russian banks to the European financial market".
Portugal calls for immediate end of Russian military operation in Ukraine
Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva called on Thursday for an immediate end of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
"The military operation launched this morning by Russia on Ukraine's territory is an unjustified aggression and a gross violation of international law," Santos Silva said on his twitter account. —Reuters
Italy PM: 'Unjustified and unjustifiable'
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday lashed Russia's attack on Ukraine as "unjustified and unjustifiable," saying Europe and NATO were working on an immediate response.
"The Italian Government condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine. It is unjustified and unjustifiable. Italy is close to the Ukrainian people and institutions in this dramatic moment. We are working with European and NATO allies to respond immediately, with unity and determination," Mr. Draghi said in a statement.
Russia waging war on Ukraine: Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned Russia's military action 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.
Japan PM Kishida condemns Russia's actions in Ukraine
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan strongly condemns the one-sided actions of Russia, following reports that Russian forces had fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities.
Mr. Kishida said he has instructed the relevant Japanese authorities to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in Ukraine.
China urges all parties involved in Ukraine issue to exercise restraint
China, a close ally of Russia, has called on all parties involved in the Ukrainian issue to exercise restraint and avoid taking any action that may aggravate tensions.
However, it is not clear whether Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it's intended to protect civilians.
EU chief vows to hold Kremlin ‘accountable’ for ‘unjustified’ Ukraine attack
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday denounced Russia’s attack on Ukraine and vowed to hold Moscow “accountable”.
“We strongly condemn Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine. 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,” EU chief Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. “We will hold the Kremlin accountable.”
Belgium calls Russia’s attack ‘darkest hour in Europe’s history since WWII’
Russia's attack on Ukraine has thrown Europe back into a situation it thought the continent had long overcome, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Thursday.
"This is Europe's darkest hour since the Second World War," he said on Twitter.
Czech Republic says Russian attack on Ukraine a 'barbaric act of aggression'
Russia's attack on Ukraine is a "barbaric act of aggression" and the Czech Republic will respond together with its allies, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said on Thursday.
"The Kremlin's decision to launch a completely unprovoked attack is unacceptable and in contradiction to international law," he said on Twitter. —Reuters
Biden speaks with Ukraine’s Zelensky: W. House
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky soon after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine, the White House said late Wednesday in Washington.
Mr. Biden “just spoke with Zelensky,” a spokesman said, adding that details would be issued later. -AFP
India calls for immediate de-escalation, refraining from further action that worsens Russia-Ukraine crisis
India called for an immediate de-escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine and cautioned that the situation is in danger of spiraling into a major crisis, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to launch a ‘military operation’ in eastern Ukraine.
The 15-nation UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Ukraine late Wednesday night, the second meeting this week and the fourth since January 31 as tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine. -PTI
Biden condemns Russia for ‘unjustified attack’
U.S. President Joe Biden is condemning Russia for an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine. He promises that the U.S. and its allies “will hold Russia accountable”.
Mr. Biden says he plans to speak to the American people Thursday after a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders. More sanctions against Russia are expected to be announced Thursday.
NATO and EU to hold emergency meetings today
NATO and EU to hold emergency meetings today, U.S. says it will bring a resolution against Russia actions to UNSC today.
Britain says wholly unprovoked attack on Ukraine starting, Kyiv airport cancels flights
Britain’s ambassador to Ukraine said a “wholly unprovoked attack” on the country was starting after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a special military operation there.
Kyiv’s Zhuliany airport was cancelling flights, the Interfax Ukraine news agency said. Earlier, a Reuters witness heard blasts in the capital.
“A wholly unprovoked attack on a peaceful country, Ukraine, is unfolding. Horrified,” British ambassador Melinda Simmons said on Twitter. -AFP
UN chief urges Putin to ‘give peace a chance’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is telling Russian President Vladimir Putin to not send Russian troops against Ukraine and “give peace a chance”.
Guterres opened an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council late Wednesday saying the day was full of rumours and indications that an offensive against Ukraine is imminent.
In the recent past, Guterres says he never believed rumours that Russia would invade Ukraine and was “convinced that nothing serious would happen”. -AP
Ukraine closes airspace to civilian flights to “high risk” to safety
Ukraine said early on Thursday it had closed its airspace to civilian flights because of a “high risk” to safety, hours after a conflict zone monitor warned airlines should stop overflights over the risk of an unintended shootdown or cyber attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised a military operation in eastern Ukraine on Thursday in what appeared to be the start of war in Europe. -Reuters
Japan, Australia monitoring oil market for impact from Ukraine conflict
Japan and Australia said on Thursday they were closely watching oil prices for any impact from hostilities in Ukraine, with Australia saying it was prepared to tap its oil stockpile held in the United States if global supplies are hit.
The Bank of Japan would closely monitor how escalating tensions in Ukraine could affect oil prices, given Japan’s heavy reliance on energy imports, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told parliament.
Australia’s energy minister, Angus Taylor, said any move to tap the small stockpile that Australia holds in the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be in coordination with other International Energy Agency (IEA) members. -Reuters