French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday termed Russian attack on Ukraine a turning point in Europe’s history, news agency AFP reported.
Macron, who has been engaged in heavy diplomatic lifting between the West and Russia, warned Moscow of an uncompromising response to its attack on its neighbour.
“We will respond without weakness to this act of war, with calm, determination and unity,” the French president said in his address to the nation.
“We have tried everything to avoid this war but it is here and we are ready,” Macron said.
He said that sanctions will be “proportionate” to Russia’s military operations, targeting its economy and its energy sector.
“We will show no weakness,” Macron said. “We will take all measures necessary to defend the sovereignty and stability of our European allies.”
Remember, Macron had dialled up Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday to defuse tensions with Ukraine. The telephonic conversation lasting 105 minutes between the two leaders revolved around the consensus to achieve a diplomatic solution to end the crisis.
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However, despite Macron’s efforts Russia refused to soften its stand by first recognising separatist-backed Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. After securing what he called a parliament nod to send troops to the former Soviet satellite state.
Earlier in the day, Putin’s forces launched a major offensive in Ukraine, using missiles to target military command centres in Kyiv and Kharkiv. According to news agency AFP, the Russian forces had crossed the borders into Ukraine.
However, Ukraine is not ready to give up without a fight, with AFP quoting officials that it managed to kill 50 Russian ‘occupiers’
At least five Russian planes and one helicopter were shot down by Ukraine in Luhansk. Russia confirmed taking out military infrastructure at Ukraine’s air bases and “suppressed” its air defences.
Russia is facing massive global criticism over its attack on Ukraine. US president Joe Biden warned Russia of catastrophic consequences due to what he termed as a premeditated war, thereby declaring that he will impose strong sanctions against it.