S President Joe Biden has denounced Russia’s decision to conduct a military operation in Ukraine as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack”, declaring “the world will hold Russia accountable”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.
Mr Biden said in a statement: “The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.
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 way
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a 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 way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
Mr Putin said Russia does not have a goal to occupy Ukraine, but the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian “regime”.
He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen”.
Mr Putin accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining Nato and offer Moscow security guarantees.
He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarisation” of Ukraine, adding that all Ukrainian servicemen who lay down arms will be able to safely leave the zone of combat.
Mr Biden said he would use a G7 meeting on Thursday morning to draw up “further consequences” for Russia’s action.
He said: “I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.
“We will also coordinate with our Nato allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”