Western leaders slam Russia's ground invasion of Ukraine, vow 'decisive' action
Western leaders have reacted with outrage to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, vowing to take "decisive" action on Moscow in response.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday. Hours later, Russian ground forces crossed into Ukraine from several directions, according to the Ukrainian border agency.
The leaders of the US, UK and France said they had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to lend their support.
US President Joe Biden called Russia's attack "unprovoked and unjustified".
"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," a statement from the presidential office read.
Biden said the US, its allies, and its partners would be imposing "severe sanctions" on Russia.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine".
French President Emmanuel Macron said: "France strongly condemns Russia's decision to wage war on Ukraine. Russia must end its military operations immediately."
In tweets posted earlier that night, Macron said France would continue to support Ukraine, including with "defensive equipment".
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on Russia "to immediately cease all hostile and provocative actions against Ukraine, and withdraw all military and proxy forces from the country".
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the attack "a dark day for Europe".
Tensions between Moscow and other world leaders over Russian activities at its border with Ukraine have been building for months.
Putin's announcement of war was aired at the same time as a UN Security Council meeting where the tensions were being discussed was in progress.
"At the exact time as we are gathered in the council seeking peace, Putin delivered a message of war in total disdain for the responsibility of this Council," US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. "This is a grave emergency."
G7 leaders are to attend a virtual meeting on Thursday to coordinate their response to the invasion.
Closer to the war's frontlines, Polish President Andrzej Duda called for an end to military operations in Ukraine.
"I will do everything so that what is happening in Ukraine can be stopped as soon as possible," Duda said.