The president of the United States, Joe Biden, assured on Wednesday night that Ukraine is suffering “an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces”, after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” against the country neighbor.
Putin appeared before local television cameras to report that he had decided to carry out a military operation that sought the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine” (a country whose president is Jewish and several of his relatives died in the Holocaust).
Although he announced that the operation would be limited to the east of the country, as the hours passed it became clear that Russian troops were attacking the entire country.
The Russian action provoked a quick rejection from the international community, beginning with the United States.
According to Biden, Putin chose to wage “a premeditated war that will bring catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
“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 manner. The world will hold Russia to account,” she stated.
This Thursday Biden announced a new round of economic sanctions that will include the freezing of bank assets and investor capital: “Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will end up costing Russia dearly, economically and strategically. We will make sure of that,” he noted.
NATO and Europe
NATO also condemned the military incursion.
In a tweet, the alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, mentioned Russia’s “reckless attack” on Ukraine, saying it “puts countless civilian lives at risk.”
“This is a serious violation of international law and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security,” he said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “horrified” by the “terrible events in Ukraine.”
For her part, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, accused Putin of being “responsible for bringing the war back to Europe” and assured that the sanctions will weaken “Russia’s economic base and its ability to modernize ”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed his support for his allies in Eastern Europe and asserted that the Russian president will pay a “bitter price” for his “serious mistake.”
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his country’s solidarity with Ukraine and called for an urgent NATO summit, while Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the Russian attack “unjustified and unjustifiable.”
Neighbors prepare for the worst
Countries bordering Ukraine and Eastern Europe not only share concerns about the situation, but are also seeking measures to bolster their own security, with some bracing for a possible refugee exodus.
The president of Lithuania -member of NATO-, Gitanas Nausėda, signed a decree to declare a state of emergency in the country.
Further south, Moldova issued a similar decree and closed its airspace.
The Moldovan government said that more than 4,000 Ukrainians came to its border from Ukraine and promised to take in tens of thousands of refugees.
Romania, for its part, announced that it could give asylum to half a million people.
Poland, which is also setting up reception points for refugees, urged Russia to end its attacks and leave Ukraine alone.
Georgia, which fought Russia in the 2008 South Ossetia War, backed Ukraine and said the Russian attack would have “dire consequences” for the international community.
Ukraine has asked NATO member Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian ships.
Turkey promised to consider the request and supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Belarus, Russia’s ally in the region, said it was not taking part in the military action but would consider it if Moscow asked it to. This country has received Russian troops during the crisis, who crossed into Ukraine in the attack.
China: “USA. has fueled the flame
China’s position in this conflict has aroused strong interest.
Beijing’s initial response was to view the word invasion as part of the “typical Western media” narrative.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he understands Russia’s security concerns.
Vice Foreign Minister Hua Chunying avoided answering yes or no to the question of whether she would call Russia’s attack on Ukraine an “invasion.”
Instead, he replied: “America has been fanning the flame, fanning the flame. How do you want to put out the fire?
Beijing also recommended its citizens in Ukraine to fly a Chinese flag to try to protect themselves.
China and Russia maintain a strategic partnership to counter US influence.
This link was sealed in a meeting between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping just before the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Widespread condemnation in Latin America
Latin American countries have expressed, in general, their rejection of the Russian attacks on Ukraine and only three support Putin: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
“Chile condemns Russia’s armed aggression and its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” President Sebastián Piñera said via Twitter, urging Moscow to “respect the Geneva Conventions on international humanitarian law.”
President-elect Gabriel Boric, who will take office on March 11, also condemned “the invasion of Ukraine, the violation of its sovereignty and the illegitimate use of force.”
Argentina expressed its “firm rejection of the use of armed force” and called on Russia to “cease military actions in Ukraine”, according to a government statement on Thursday.
“Colombia categorically rejects the attacks against Ukraine by Russia. These events threaten Ukraine’s sovereignty and put the lives of thousands of people at risk,” tweeted Colombian President Iván Duque.
Ecuador also condemned the “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” that “violates the principles of the United Nations Charter,” according to a tweet by President Guillermo Lasso.
“We reject actions contrary to international law and UN principles,” published the Uruguayan president, Luis Lacalle Pou, who urged the return of “negotiations to resolve the conflict in a civilized way.”
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, did not directly condemn Russia’s actions and limited himself to supporting peace and dialogue.
“We are going to continue promoting that there is dialogue, that force is not used, that there is no invasion. We are not in favor of any war, Mexico is a country that has always stood for peace and for the peaceful solution of disputes, it is even in the Constitution”, he declared.
Putin’s three Latin American allies
Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, political and economic allies of Russia in the region, expressed their support for Putin.
“Venezuela announces its full support for President Vladimir Putin in the defense of peace in Russia, in defense of peace in that region and in the brave defense of his people,” President Nicolás Maduro announced in a televised appearance.
He argued that “the North American empire and NATO intend by military means to put an end to Russia, to stop Russia and to put an end to this multipolar world that is already a reality.”
Cuba, for its part, affirmed that Russia has “the right to defend itself” and urged NATO to meet its demand for “security guarantees,” according to Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.
The foreign minister spoke during a visit to Havana by Duma President Vyacheslav Volodin on Wednesday, a day after Moscow agreed to restructure Cuba’s $2.3 billion debt with Russia.
Finally, the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, expressed his support for Putin and accused the United States and NATO of threatening the security of the Slavic country.
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