Key quotes | World leaders react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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Protesters gather during a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden on February 24.Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency/via Reuters
Protesters gather during a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden on February 24.Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency/via Reuters


Russia has launched an attack on Ukraine by order of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin announced the military attack in the early hours of Thursday morning. This was followed by explosions in the Ukraine capital of Kiev and across the country just a few minutes later.

Here is a rundown of the quotes from leaders and other senior figures shaping events after Russia launched its 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 denasification of Ukraine. And to bring to court those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.”

READ: This is a full-scale invasion – says Ukraine’s president as Russia launches attacks

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba:

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

US 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 US 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.

READ: Ukraine: the Council of Europe says Russia has violated international law - so why is it still a member?

“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.”

READ: Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know as Russia authorises special military operation

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.”

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.” – Reuters


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