As explosions battered Ukraine on Thursday, grim-faced world leaders decried Russian President Vladimir Putin’s choice to launch an unprovoked army invasion on a continent that many thought had way back shaken off the scourge of battle.
“President Putin of Russia has unleashed battle in our European continent,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned in a somber video tackle. “Innumerable missiles and bombs have been raining down on a wholly harmless inhabitants.”
Becoming a member of a refrain of leaders vowing to impose harsh financial sanctions on Russia, Johnson mentioned it was incumbent on the remainder of the world to come back to the help of a “nation that for many years has loved freedom and democracy and the suitable to decide on its personal future.”
“We, and the world, can’t permit that freedom simply to be snuffed out,” he mentioned.
In Europe particularly, officers expressed a worrisome sense that the Russian invasion posed threats far past Ukraine.
“What’s at stake is the soundness of Europe and the entire worldwide order,” mentioned Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s govt arm.
Talking at a joint information convention with the pinnacle of NATO, whose headquarters are additionally in Brussels, she mentioned that the assault on Ukraine had helped unify the remainder of Europe.
“We’re extra united and extra decided than ever,” Von der Leyen mentioned. “We’re one union, one alliance, united in goal.”
The sight of missiles falling throughout Ukraine struck a chord with leaders from Asia to Latin America — with the notable exceptions of China and smaller nations that depend on Russian help, equivalent to Venezuela.
Colombian President Ivan Duque referred to as the invasion “a risk to the soundness of Europe and a risk to world peace,” and expressed concern about international financial impacts.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison additionally castigated Russia and mentioned his nation was issuing sanctions in opposition to Russia that may take impact Friday. “I’ll name it what it’s: the Russian authorities launched a brutal invasion, unprovoked.”
In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned Russia’s “full-scale invasion” and pledged to work intently with the U.S. and different nations to carry Moscow accountable.
“The Russian assault shakes the muse of the worldwide order,” Kishida mentioned.
Japan, which has a long-running territorial dispute with Russia close to its northern prefecture of Hokkaido, mentioned it was contemplating releasing oil reserves to assist blunt the sharp rise in crude costs, which reached $100 a barrel for the primary time since 2014.
China, for its half, declined to sentence Russia’s actions.
Talking at a commonly scheduled information convention, Chinese language overseas ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying refused to name the assault on Ukraine an “invasion,” saying the time period is “prejudiced.”
China’s response to the disaster is being intently watched due to parallels to its long-standing want to take management of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing considers a breakaway territory. China and Russia have fortified their ties lately, with Putin and Chinese language President Xi Jinping assembly this month and declaring their nations leaders in a “new period” of worldwide order.
Hua didn’t reply questions on whether or not China was in touch with Russia or Ukraine. She additionally mentioned the battle was the results of “numerous elements” and “a really sophisticated historic background.”
“That is maybe a distinction between China and Westerners. We received’t go speeding to a conclusion,” Hua mentioned.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has obtained very important help from Russia, mentioned his nation would give “its full assist for President Vladimir Putin … in his courageous protection of his individuals and his homeland.”
“We all know that Putin is defending the suitable to peace and dignity of the Russian individuals,” he mentioned.
However on the whole, public in addition to official response to the invasion was outrage.
In Washington, protesters wrote “homicide” in purple paint on the driveway outdoors the Russian Embassy.
In London, tons of of demonstrators gathered outdoors Downing Road calling on the British authorities to do extra to cease Russian aggression. Many have been Ukrainians dwelling in London who mentioned they have been “heartbroken” and “terrified” on the unfolding information, and a few held indicators exhibiting a picture of Putin with blood on his palms.
On the streets of London, the place some can nonetheless bear in mind the drone of air raid sirens from World Battle II, the final main battle in Europe greater than 75 years in the past, photos of Ukrainians huddling in subway stations to guard themselves from bombs have been deeply unsettling.
Irina Hallet, 72, a Russian native who lives in London, mentioned she needed to flip information of the invasion off as a result of it was too upsetting.
“For me, it’s devastating,” she mentioned. “It upsets me a lot. It’s simply full-scale battle.”
“I don’t understand how a monster like this might exist and rewrite historical past,” she mentioned of Putin. “He needs a battle and he may have a battle.”
Chu reported from London, Linthicum from Mexico Metropolis and Pierson from Singapore. Particular correspondents Christina Boyle in London and Cecilia Sanchez in Mexico Metropolis contributed to this report.