Washington: US President Joe Biden on Monday slammed Russia for missile strikes across Ukraine that killed at least 11 civilians.
Russia on Monday unleashed a series of missile strikes against multiple Ukrainian cities in what Russian President Vladimir Putin said was in retaliation for Kyiv's terrorist actions -- a reference to Ukraine's attempts to repel Moscow's invasion forces, including an attack last weekend on a key bridge, prized by the Kremlin, between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula.
These attacks killed and injured civilians and destroyed targets with no military purpose. They once again demonstrate the utter brutality of Putin's illegal war on the Ukrainian people, Biden said.
Strongly condemning Russia's missile strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, Biden offered condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were "senselessly killed", as well as his best wishes for the recovery of those who were wounded.
These attacks only further reinforce our commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes. Alongside our allies and partners, we will continue to impose costs on Russia for its aggression, hold Putin and Russia accountable for its atrocities and war crimes, and provide the support necessary for Ukrainian forces to defend their country and their freedom, he said.
We again call on Russia to end this unprovoked aggression immediately and remove its troops from Ukraine, Biden said.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to Brussels to participate in the NATO Defence Ministerial on October 12 and 13 at the NATO headquarters.
This will be the first Defence ministerial since the NATO Madrid Summit in June 2022 and the first ministerial that Finland and Sweden will join as Invitees. Ministers will discuss implementation of decisions endorsed at Madrid and provide guidance for future planning efforts, it said.
Coming out in support of Ukraine after the Russian missile strike, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Russian bombs hit children's playgrounds and public parks in Kyiv; wave after wave of missiles struck Kyiv's city streets and damaged heating and targets without military purpose throughout Ukraine.
I extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Ukraine who have lost loved ones today. The United States stands with you, Blinken said.
Russia's attacks are yet another reminder that its war against Ukraine presents a profound moral issue. No person of conscience and no country of principle could be unmoved by the devastation of these horrors. Ukraine, like every other country around the world, has the right to choose its own future and live peacefully inside its own internationally recognised borders, he asserted.
These strikes can break neither Ukraine's spirit nor America's resolve to support Ukraine, he said. The United States will continue to provide vital economic, humanitarian, and security assistance so Ukraine can defend itself and take care of its people, Blinken added.
There is one aggressor in this war: Russia. There is only one country escalating this war through its attempted annexations of Ukraine's land and its repeated assaults on civilians: Russia. There is one person who can stop this war now and withdraw Russia's forces: Vladimir Putin, he said.