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Former U.S. President George W. Bush responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, describing it as the most severe threat to the security of Europe since World War II.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine constitutes the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II. I join the international community in condemning Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” Bush said. “The American government and people must stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future.”
During a televised address at 5:55 a.m. Moscow time on Thursday (9:55 p.m. E.T. on Wednesday), Putin announced the launch of a “specialized military operation” in Ukraine’s Donbas region, part of which has been occupied by Russian-backed rebels since the last invasion of 2014.
Putin pledged to demilitarize and “de-Nazify” Ukraine, in reference to the Kremlin’s claim that both Ukraine’s military and desire to join NATO represents a security threat, and that it is run by neo-Nazis.
“I have taken the decision to carry out a special military operation,” Putin said. “Its goal will be to defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kyiv regime. For this we will aim for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as taking to court those who carried out multiple bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.”
Putin then threatened anyone who may try and intervene.
“Anyone who tries to interfere with us, or even more so, to create threats for our country and our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history,” Putin said. “We are ready for any turn of events.”
Immediately after this announcement, multiple journalists on the ground across Ukraine reported hearing explosions. Reporters in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, and in the southern port city of Odessa all related news of explosions.
Numerous Ukrainian government officials said that Russian “cruise and ballistic missile strikes” were being launched against Ukrainian military targets.
“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. 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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team. Tomorrow, 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.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.