President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
In a written statement, Biden condemned Russia’s announced military operation against Ukraine, calling it 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,” he said. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”
Putin announced Thursday local time that his nation will conduct military operations in eastern Ukraine, according to an NBC translation of the speech.
Putin made the announcement in an address to his nation just before dawn on Thursday in Moscow.
Earlier this week Putin formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in the eastern part of the country and ordered troops into the area, attempting to frame it as a “peacekeeping” effort.
The move was condemned, and Biden announced new sanctions against Russia in response.
Biden said in the statement after Putin’s announcement said that he would be monitoring the situation.
He said he would meet with his G7 counterparts Thursday 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.”
“Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine,” Biden said, referring to his wife.
Putin announced the military action as the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting.
Ukraine’s representative to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya, said that Putin “declared a war on my country” and that it was “too late” to talk de-escalation.
He called on the U.N. to do everything possible to stop the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that he was imposing martial law.
“Don’t panic, we’re strong, we’re prepared, we will win,” he told citizens. Emergency sirens were heard in the capital of Kyiv at around 7 a.m. Thursday.
Zelenskyy did not detail what martial law would entail.
Biden said he spoke with Zelenskyy by phone, and he pledged support for Ukraine and its people.
“I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council,” Biden said in a statement. “He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Leaders of other nations have condemned the military actions.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was appalled, and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his country condemns Russia’s attack. Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs also rejected the use of force and supported efforts for peace.
“These reckless and dangerous acts will not go unpunished,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Klaus Iohannis, the president of Romania, which borders Ukraine, called Russia’s actions “another very grave breach of international law.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed to hold the Kremlin accountable.
Poland Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for a strong response to “Russia’s criminal aggression on Ukraine.”
“Europe and the free world has to stop Putin,” he tweeted. “Today’s European Council should approve fiercest possible sanctions. Our support for Ukraine must be real.”