World leaders react

‘A tragedy’: World leaders react to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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A building was hit by a large-caliber mortar shell in the village of Krymske, eastern Ukraine, in February.
U.S. and world leaders rushed to condemn a Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday night, warning of heavy sanctions to come for the attack announced in a televised addressed by Vladimir Putin.

Here’s what some of those leaders said:

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda
The Lithuanian president said only a united and strong response by democratic Western allies could stop Russia.

“Never before have we been so strong & so well prepared to face external challenges together with our Allies,” Gitanas Nausėda tweeted. The future of Europe “may depend on how we react in the coming hours & days.”

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission
“It is President Putin who was bringing war back to Europe. And in these dark hours, the European Union and its people stand by Ukraine and its people. We are facing an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country. Russia’s target is not only Donbas, the target is not only Ukraine the target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the International Peace order. And we will hold President Putin accountable for that.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law. There is no justification for it. Germany condemns this reckless act by President Putin in the strongest possible terms. Our solidarity is with Ukraine and its people.

Russia must stop this military action immediately. Within the framework of the G7, Nato and the EU, we will coordinate closely today. This is a terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe.”

U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson
“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps. 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.”

Finland President Sauli Niinistö
“I strongly condemn the military measures Russia has started in Ukraine. Russia’s acts target Ukraine, but at the same time they are an attack on the entire European security order. We feel deep compassion towards Ukraine and are seeking ways to increase our support to Ukraine.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chair of the House Intelligence Committee
“A massive Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun. … There can be no certainty about what will come next, but no matter what the next days and weeks bring, the United States will stand with the people of Ukraine – now and always. This begins by moving swiftly beyond the significant sanctions already announced by the Biden administration to fully cutting off Russia’s leading financial institutions from the global economy and ending Europe’s dependence on Russian oil for good.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
“While there is still an opportunity for Russia to reverse course, we can no longer hold out hope that this standoff can be resolved peacefully. Therefore, we must all, on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic, work together to demonstrate to Putin that his aggression will not be allowed to go unpunished.

“What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy not only for Ukraine, but for the Russian people as well. They will pay a steep cost for Putin’s reckless ambition, in blood and economic harm.”

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