The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, today condemned Russia's military operation in eastern Ukraine, declaring that it is a "violation of international law" and expressed "total solidarity" with the Ukrainian people.

This position of the Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who will attend a meeting of the Superior Council for National Defense for today, is contained in a note published on the official website of the Presidency of the Republic on the Internet.

"The President of the Republic, as well as the Government, strongly condemns the flagrant violation of International Law by the Russian Federation and supports the declaration of the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, expressing total solidarity with the State and people of Ukraine", reads the note.

Earlier, in statements to the Lusa News Agency, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that he is "following up on what is happening in Eastern Europe, in permanent contact with the Prime Minister”.

"This was the immediate response that was required, due to the follow-up carried out together with the Prime Minister and what was the position and request of the Government as well, corresponding to the vision that I have of the situation ", he considered.

The Superior Council for National Defense is a specific body, chaired by the President of the Republic, to discuss matters relating to national defense and the organisation and operation of the Army.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin today announced the start of a military operation in eastern Ukraine, claiming it is aimed at protecting ethnic Russian civilians in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which he recognised as independent on Monday.

In reaction to this decision, the Prime Minister, António Costa, wrote on his Twitter account: "I strongly condemn Russia's military action against Ukraine. I will meet with the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the Armed Forces. And I asked the President of the Republic for an urgent meeting of the Superior Council for National Defense".