US, NATO, UN respond to Russian operation in Donbass
Representatives of the United States, NATO, and the UN, as well as several Western states, have decried Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a "special military operation" in the Donbass region.
After President Putin responded to military assistance requests from the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People's Republics in the Donbass by launching a "special military operation" in the region early on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said he would hold Russia “responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring.”
"The United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable," President Biden said in a statement, adding that he would be "praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Moscow's "reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine" and accused Russia of risking "countless civilian lives."
"Once again, despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country," Stoltenberg claimed, calling Putin's special military operation "a grave breach of international law" and "a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security."
Stoltenberg concluded by calling on Moscow to "cease its military action immediately and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Putin to stop Russian "troops from attacking Ukraine" and said, "Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died."
Moscow also received heat from France, Canada, and Germany, with French ambassador to the UN, Nicolas De Riviere, declaring, "Russia has chosen war. France condemns in the strongest possible terms the initiation of these operations."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson similarly blasted Russia over the operation, saying he is “appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine” and that he had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the “next steps.”
“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” he added, noting that London and its allies would “respond decisively.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned "in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine" and claimed Moscow's "reckless and dangerous acts" would "not go unpunished."
The German Mission to the UN, meanwhile, called on its allies to "stand up for Ukraine and against a shameless breach of international law." It said that "Russia's military aggression" would "come at an unprecedented price, politically, economically and morally."
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also criticized "Russia's unjustified attack on Ukraine," vowing to "hold the Kremlin accountable."
In his address on Thursday, Putin claimed that the operation was needed to “protect” the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, arguing that they had been subjected to “genocide by the Kiev regime” for the past eight years.