"A dark day for Europe": Olaf Scholz condemns Russian attack on Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has issued a sharp condemnation of Russia’s decision to attack Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning. His words have been echoed by other German and European leaders.
Olaf Scholz reacts to Russia’s attack on Ukraine
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law,” Scholz asserted on Thursday in Berlin. "There is no justification for it.” He called on Russia to immediately halt its military offensive, describing it as a “dark day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe.”
At around 4am German time on Thursday morning, Vladimir Putin launched a Russian military offensive in Ukraine, targeting military infrastructure, airbases and border positions. Although Putin said the operation would be concentrated in the east of the country, strikes have been reported much further afield, with Russian forces appearing to be attacking from the north, south and east. Explosions have been reported as far west as Lviv, which is not far from the border with Poland.
Putin’s actions condemned by world leaders
World leaders were quick to condemn the attack. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, “With its attack on Ukraine, Russia violates the most basic and important rules of the international order. The international community will not forget this day of shame.”
Her party colleague Robert Habeck, Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany, echoed these statements: “We are faced with a land war in Europe of the kind we thought we could only find in the history books,” he said. “It is a shameless violation of international law and we condemn it in the harshest possible terms.”
Germany’s Finance Minister, Christian Lindner of the Free Democrats, wrote on Twitter: “The Russian attack is a nightmare. Putin has shown himself to be a liar. Together with our partners from the EU, NATO and G7, we express full solidarity with Ukraine.”
As similar statements came in from around the world, including from US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that EU leaders would meet on Thursday to decide on a second package of “unprecedented” sanctions.
Measures currently under discussion include the possibility of cutting Russia out of the international banking system and banning the export of high-tech and luxury products to the country. Germany has already opted to suspend the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
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