Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade neighbouring Ukraine is an attempt to wipe that latter country off the map, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.
“This is an incursion into an independent, sovereign country. Nothing and no one can justify it. It is an attempt to forcibly move borders within Europe, maybe even wipe an entire country off the world map,” he said in a pre-recorded address.
Scholz added: “He [Putin] alone, not the Russian people, chose this war. He alone bears full responsibility for this. This war is Putin's war.”
“With the attack on Ukraine, President Putin wants to turn back time – but there is no going back to the time of the 19th century when great powers decided over the heads of smaller states.”
The German Chancellor announced that in coordination with the European Union, NATO and G7, Russia will face a second round of sanctions that will “will hit the Russian economy hard.”
Russia’s troops launched a comprehensive attack on Ukraine earlier on Thursday that brought explosions and set off air raid sirens in Kyiv and other cities, officially beginning the military conflict the West has tried for months to dissuade Moscow from starting.
Ukraine’s authorities said at least 40 people, both civilian and military, were killed so far.
Russia’s armed forces “successfully” completed all their tasks set for the first day of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.