The Kremlin: The military operation in Ukraine will continue and we will respond in the event of any foreign intervention and to US and European sanctions

The Kremlin said Thursday that the military operation against Ukraine will continue as long as necessary, based on its “results” and “feasibility”, and estimated that the Russians would support a similar attack.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to reporters that Moscow aims to impose a “neutral status” in Ukraine, disarm it and eliminate “Nazis” who he said are present in the country.

“The duration of the operation will be determined based on its results and feasibility,” Peskov said.

It will be determined by the “Supreme Commander” of the Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin.

He stressed that Moscow is not trying to “occupy” Ukraine and that the future remains “a question of the Ukrainian people’s choice”.

“In the best-case scenario, Ukraine should be liberated and cleansed of the Nazis,” the spokesman added.

Peskov didn’t respond to a question whether Moscow considered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “Nazi”.

He considered that the decision to attack Ukraine was “dictated by concern for the future” of Russia, which for weeks has asked Western countries to ensure that Kyiv never joins NATO.

He spoke of “neutralizing the ‘Ukrainian’ military capabilities that have developed aggressively recently, ‘including thanks to the activities of foreign countries”.

Peskov stressed that Moscow is ready to talk to Ukrainian leaders about its demands if they are “ready to talk”.

“The emotional reaction of the markets and the financial sector was expected.

All necessary measures have been taken to ensure that this period ends as soon as possible”.

He also saw that “a country like Russia” could not find itself isolated on the international scene despite Western threats.

“Of course, we can have problems with a number of countries” he said.

But we already had problems with these countries in the past”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier Thursday that he had taken the decision to conduct a military operation in Donbas, Ukraine.

He added that the circumstances required decisive action from Russia, while Reuters quoted witnesses as saying that they heard explosions in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

A Russian news agency quoted Putin as saying that the confrontations between Russian and Ukrainian forces were only a matter of time.

News agencies also reported hearing the sound of gunfire near Boryspil airport in Kyiv, as well as hearing huge explosions on the eastern front of Ukraine. Drop off in Mariupol and Odesa.

Returning to the sudden speech of the Russian president, in which he added: “Russia cannot accept threats from Ukraine,” calling on Ukraine to “lay down arms,” stressing that NATO’s further expansion and use of Ukraine’s territory is unacceptable.

Putin indicated that his country does not plan to occupy Ukraine, warning that “in the event of foreign intervention, we will respond immediately”.

And he warned that “the authorities of Ukraine will bear the responsibility for any bloodshed,” saying, “Any attempt at foreign interference in Russia’s work will lead to results they did not see”.

He added, “Our actions are self-defense against threats greater than the problems we are currently experiencing”.

Putin said he wanted Ukraine to be disarmed and rid of “neo-Nazis”.

Russia vowed a “harsh” response to the European sanctions that would be imposed on it, stressing that it would “not prevent” Moscow from providing its aid to the separatists loyal to it in the war on Ukraine.

“In accordance with the principle of reciprocity, which is the basis of international law, we will take harsh countermeasures,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, a notice to pilots issued at (01:56 GMT), Thursday, said that flights of civil aircraft in Ukrainian airspace are “restricted due to potential risks to civil aviation”.

The notice period is scheduled to expire at (23:59 GMT) Thursday unless it is extended.

The notice didn’t provide other details.

Coinciding with Putin’s decisions, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on Russian President Putin to prevent troops from attacking Ukraine and give peace a chance.

This came during an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Ukraine.

Guterres added, “In recent hours, we have seen rumors and indications of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine” stressing: “I say to President Putin, give peace a chance”.

The UN Secretary-General said: “I was mistaken when I thought that nothing would happen on the borders of Ukraine”.

In turn, a White House official said that US President Joe Biden will make statements Thursday afternoon about Russia’s decision to take military action in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

CNN quoted the official as saying that Biden will announce “more consequences that the United States, our allies, and our partners will impose on Russia because of its unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin chose the “path of blood and destruction” by announcing an attack on Ukraine, and pledged a decisive response from Britain and its allies.

“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and have spoken to President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss next steps,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

“President Putin chose the path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

The UK and its allies will respond decisively”.

Johnson said Britain and its allies would unleash a massive package of economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy after the Kremlin began its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Global reactions followed the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of a “military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday likened the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the actions of “Nazi Germany” during World War II.

“Russia attacked Ukraine cowardly and in a suicidal way as Nazi Germany did during World War II,” he said on Facebook, calling on Russians to “go out” to the streets “to protest this war”.

US President Joe Biden condemned Russia’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.

“President Putin has chosen launched a planned operation that will cause catastrophic suffering and casualties,” he said in a statement, adding, “I condemned this unjustified attack by the Russian military forces”.

He stressed that “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction that will result from this attack,” stressing that “the world will hold Russia accountable”.

After an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the conflict that Russia started in Ukraine “now”.

“President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia!” Guterres said, stressing, “This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations”.

“In the name of humanity, let us not allow what could be the worst war in Europe since the turn of the century,” he added.

The European Union on Thursday condemned Russia’s “unjustified” behavior and warned that the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin would face “unprecedented isolation” after its military intervention in Ukraine.

“Russian leaders will have to face unprecedented isolation,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels, stressing that the EU is preparing a new package of sanctions that will be “the most severe that has ever been implemented”.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s unjustified attack against Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel tweeted.

In these dark and dark hours, we stand in solidarity with Ukraine, its innocent women, men, and children, in the face of this unjustified attack,” vowing to “hold the Kremlin accountable”.

An “extraordinary meeting” of the Ministerial Committee of the European Council its executive arm will be held at 14:00 GMT at the headquarters of the European Organization in Strasbourg, to discuss “next steps” after the Russian attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke with Zelensky, stressed that France “resolutely condemns Russia’s decision to launch war on Ukraine” and called on Moscow “to put an immediate end to its military operations”.

He declared, “France’s solidarity with Ukraine, it’s standing by the Ukrainians, and its action with its partners and allies to stop the war”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the Russian military operation a “flagrant violation” of international law.

Germany later said the European Union, NATO, and the Group of Seven would impose “severe sanctions” against Russia.

For her part, German Foreign Minister Annallina Bierbock pledged Thursday that Berlin and its allies would impose “severe sanctions” on Russia.

“Today we will coordinate within the European Union, NATO, and the Group of Seven and implement a full package of the most stringent sanctions,” she said.

The German Interior Minister Nancy Wieser announced that her country is ready to provide “great support” to its neighbors, especially Poland, in the event of an influx of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Thursday that Western countries would impose “massive” sanctions targeting the Russian economy in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, describing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “dictator”.

“Diplomatically, politically, economically and finally militarily, Vladimir Putin’s brutal and barbaric project must end in failure,” Johnson said in a televised address to the British.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the “reckless and unprovoked Russian attack” on Ukraine, warning that it puts “an incalculable number” of lives at risk.

“Once again, despite our repeated warnings and our tireless diplomatic efforts, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against an independent and sovereign state,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

He stressed that NATO member states “will meet to deal with the consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions, and we stand with the people of Ukraine at this difficult time.

“NATO will make all necessary efforts to protect and defend all allies.

The Polish government demanded the activation of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty”.

A short time ago, the ambassador in Brussels submitted this request to the NATO Secretary-General, along with a group of allies,” said Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described the Russian attack as “unjustified”, stressing that the European Union and NATO were working to provide an immediate response.

“The Italian government condemns Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine, and Italy stands by the Ukrainian people and its institutions at this tragic moment,” he stressed.

Subsequently, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Italy and informed him of the Italian government’s “strong condemnation” of the “dangerous and unjustified aggression” against Ukraine.

It said in a statement that this attack “constitutes a flagrant and clear violation of international law”.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez denounced Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and confirmed in a tweet on Twitter that he was in contact with European Union and NATO countries “to coordinate our response”.

Finland and Sweden condemned the Russian attack, separately denouncing an “attack on the European security system”.

Denmark also condemned the attack.

For its part, NATO member Norway condemned the “grave violation of international law” and announced the transfer of its embassy from Kyiv to Lviv, in the west of the country.

“These unjustified actions are another clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Russia’s obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

He said he would meet with G7 partners to put together a collective response, “including through additional sanctions to those announced earlier this week”.

“These reckless and dangerous acts will not go unpunished,” he added.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Russia is a member, said that “this attack on Ukraine puts the lives of millions of people in grave danger and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and Russia’s obligations”.

The statement was issued by the current head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, and the organization’s Secretary-General, Helga Maria Schmid.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Thursday that China “understands Russia’s reasonable security concerns,” hours after Moscow launched an offensive on Ukraine.

“China has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” Wang said, according to a statement about the phone call released by his ministry.

“At the same time, we have noted that the Ukraine issue has a special and complex history.

We understand Russia’s reasonable security concerns”.

“The recent Russian invasion shakes the foundations of the international system, which doesn’t allow unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after a meeting of the National Security Council.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a televised speech on Thursday, calling it a “severe blow to regional peace and stability”.

“We reject this unacceptable operation,” Erdogan said from the Turkish presidency, stressing that it was “a severe blow to regional peace and stability”.

He renewed his calls for solving problems “through dialogue”.

Lithuania announced Thursday that it will impose a state of emergency on its territory after the air and ground attack launched by the Russian army on Ukraine.

“Today I will sign a decree imposing a state of emergency,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said after a meeting of the National Security Council.

He added that “Lithuania will request the activation of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Charter”, which provides for emergency consultations in the event that a member of the alliance is threatened.

The Latvian Broadcasting Corporation announced Thursday the ban of three Russian television channels for a period of three to five years, considering them a “threat to national security”.

The authority called on “all European Union countries” to “use the evidence collected by the authority and follow the example of Latvia by restricting the re-broadcasting of these programs”.

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