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Russia invades Ukraine: Political, military leaders’ reactions

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© Reuters. A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest at Brandenburg Gate, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Berlin, Germany February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
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(Reuters) – Following is a rundown of reactions from political leaders and other senior figures shaping events after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

“I have decided to conduct a special military operation… to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide… for the last eight years.

“And for this we will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine. “And to bring to court those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.”

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DMYTRO KULEBA

“Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes.”

U.S PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering…

“I will be meeting with the leaders of the G7, and the United States and our allies and partners will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia.”

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT URSULA VON DER LEYEN

“President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe…

“We will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to key technologies and markets. We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernise.”

“In addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the EU and stop the access of Russian banks to the European financial market.”

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JOSEP BORRELL

“These are among the darkest hours of Europe since the Second World War.

“The EU will respond in the strongest possible terms and agree on the harshest package of sanctions we have ever implemented.”

GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER ROBERT HABECK

“We have a land war in Europe that we thought was only to find in history books. It is a flagrant breach of international law. For Russia, this attack will have severe political and economic consequences.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON

“France strongly condemns the decision of Russia to start a war with Ukraine. Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON

“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine…

“This is a catastrophe for our continent.”

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON HUA CHUNYING

“You are using a typical Western media question method of using the word invasion.

“China is closely monitoring the latest situation. We call on all sides to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from getting out of control.”

GERMAN ARMY CHIEF LIEUTENANT GENERAL ALFONS MAIS

“In my 41th year of peace-time service, I would not have thought that I would have to experience a war.

“And the Bundeswehr, the army which I have the honour to command, is standing there more or less empty-handed. The options we can offer the government in support of the (NATO)alliance are extremely limited…

“We have all seen it coming but were not able to get through with our arguments to draw the consequences after (Russia’s) annexation of Crimea. This does not feel good. I am fed up with it.”

ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE SECRETARY GENERAL HELGA SCHMID

“The mission’s well-developed contingency plans are being put in action.

“The safety and security of our personnel is our utmost priority.”

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK POLICYMAKER YANNIS STOURNARAS

“In my view it is going to have a short-term inflationary effect – that is prices will increase due to higher energy costs.

“But in the medium to long term I think that the consequences will be deflationary through adverse trade effects.”

Russia invades Ukraine: Political, military leaders’ reactions

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