Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction” with his attack on Ukraine and that the UK and its allies would respond “decisively”.
It came as Ukraine’s president declared martial law and Russia’s military said it had targeted Ukrainian air bases and other military assets and had not targeted populated areas.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the Prime Minister will chair a Cobra committee meeting at 7.30am to discuss the response to the “horrific attacks”.
In a statement on Twitter, Mr Johnson said he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss “next steps”.
“I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps,” he said.
“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
“The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”
A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson had assured Mr Zelensky the West “would not stand by as President Putin waged his campaign against the Ukrainian people”.
“The Prime Minister said he hoped Ukraine could resist and that Ukraine and its people were in the thoughts of everyone in the United Kingdom people during this dark time,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.