‘The West must act today,’ says Ukrainian presidential adviser

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives to make a statement following a meeting of the German government’s security cabinet February 24 in Berlin, Germany. (Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

International condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was swift and clear, with several leaders also promising a new wave of tougher sanctions against Moscow in the coming hours.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz criticized the Russian military operation ‘in the strongest possible terms’, calling it a ‘reckless act of President Putin’, a ‘terrible day for Ukraine and a dark day for Europe’ “.

“There’s no justification for any of this – it’s Putin’s war,” Scholz told reporters at a press conference in Berlin.

The European Union said: “We call on President Putin to immediately and unconditionally cease Russian military operations to withdraw all military forces and equipment from all Ukrainian territory.”

He added that Russia “bears full responsibility for this act of aggression and all the destruction and loss of life it will cause.”

And French President Emmanuel Macron, who had become a key intermediary in Europe’s attempts to avert an invasion, wrote: “France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands with the Ukrainians and works with its partners and allies to end the war.

Elsewhere, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the country would provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine if needed, adding: “Israel has a long history of wars, and war is not the way to resolve conflicts”.

And in Taiwan, which is closely monitoring events in Europe given the Chinese Communist Party’s claims that the island is its territory, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou was quick to condemn the Putin’s decision.

“Ukrainian cities like Kiev have been attacked by gunfire, raising fears of a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine,” she said. “We call on all parties to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose the use of violence or coercion to change the status quo.”

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