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Breaking news: ‘Darkest hours for Europe since World War Two’

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A crescendo of condemnation is building as the world wakes up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“These are among the darkest hours for Europe since World War Two” – those were the words of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

He says a major nuclear power attacking a neighbouring country and threatening reprisals on any state that could come to its rescue is “the greatest violation of international law” and a “violation of the basic principles of human co-existence”.

The EU will impose the harshest sanctions it has ever enacted, he says.

The UK’s Boris Johnson said he was “appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine” and that Vladimir Putin “has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack”.

The UK would respond decisively, he said.

France’s Emmanuel Macron – who spent hours in a one-to-one meeting with Putin and also spoke to him several times by phone – said Russia must halt its military action.

Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck said Europe was seeing a land war “that we thought was only to find in history books”.

Earlier US President Joe Biden said Putin had “chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering”. The world would hold Russia accountable, he said.

He said he would address Americans on Thursday about consequences Russia would face.

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