World Reacts to Russia’s Actions Toward Ukraine

Governments around the world have responded to Russia’s recognition of breakaway areas in eastern Ukraine as independent states, with many condemning the move and urging a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

“We must make it clear that an attack on Ukraine is an attack on the sovereignty of every U.N. member state and the U.N. charter – and that it will be met with swift and severe consequences,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said late Monday. “We continue to believe that the diplomatic table is the only place where responsible nations resolve their differences.”

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the U.N. leader considered Russia’s decision “inconsistent with the principles” of the U.N. charter and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Turkey’s foreign ministry issued a statement early Tuesday calling Russia’s action a “clear violation of Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned Russia’s move and said it would be met with sanctions.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU would not deploy its full range of sanctions at this time, but would impose measures in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcements from Monday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to impose a “very robust package of sanctions” in the case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and called Putin’s actions “flagrant violation” of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, called on all parties to exercise restraint and to “seek reasonable solutions.”

Iran’s foreign ministry also urged restraint, while blaming “the interventions and provocative actions of NATO and mainly the U.S.” for complicating the situation in the region.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia “continues to fuel the conflict in eastern Ukraine by providing financial and military support to the separatists” and is “trying to stage a pretext to invade Ukraine once again.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called Russia’s actions “unacceptable” and said Japan “is watching the development with grave concern.”

State television in Syria, an ally that has relied on Russian military support during its own conflict, quoted Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad saying Syria backs Russia’s decision “and will cooperate with them.”

Greece’s foreign ministry said Russia’s action is “a clear violation of fundamental principles of international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the Minsk agreements.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia “is breaking all its promises to the world community.”

South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed “serious concern” about the escalation of tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border and expressed its support for “the sovereignty and territorial preservation of Ukraine.”

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