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World leaders unite in condemning Russia for choosing 'path of bloodshed and destruction'

Boris Johnson has accused Vladimir Putin of choosing “a path of bloodshed and destruction” with his attack on Ukraine and says that the UK and its allies would respond “decisively”.

In a statement following explosions in a number of Ukrainian cities, the Prime Minister added that he was “appalled by the horrific events” in Ukraine and said he had spoken to its president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss “next steps”.

US President Joe Biden denounced Vladimir Putin’s decision to begin military operations as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack”, declaring “the world will hold Russia accountable”.

Mr Biden said in a statement: “The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight.”

Follow the latest updates on the Russian attack on Ukraine here

The Russian President appeared on state TV in Moscow to announce the operation was going ahead, just as the UN Security Council was meeting late in New York to urge Russia not to invade Ukraine.

The UN secretary General António Guterres said: “This war doesn’t make any sense,” adding: “It will cause a level of suffering not seen in Europe since the Balkan crisis.”

More on Russia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia’s actions were a “grave breach of international law” and that allies would meet to address the “renewed aggression”.

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Explosions in Ukraine’s second city

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said her thoughts were with the people of Ukraine “in these dark hours” and that Russia would be held accountable for its actions.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said his country condemned the Russian attack “in the strongest possible terms” and called for the immediate cease of “all hostile and provocative actions against Ukraine”. He added: “These reckless and dangerous acts will not go unpunished.”

The UK’s ambassador to the UN, Dame Barbara Woodward, said it is a “grave day for Ukraine and for the principles of the United Nations”.

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