All national papers wrote that Foreign Minister Hayashi summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Galuzin on Thursday evening and criticized President Putin’s decision to launch a military attack on Ukraine. “This is a clear violation of international law,” the foreign minister said to the Russian diplomat. “We will never accept the alteration of the status quo by force. Russia should immediately call off the invasion and pull its troops out of Ukraine.” In reply, Ambassador Galuzin stressed that there is no Russian aggression taking place in Ukraine, adding that the Russian military is following a presidential order to carry out special operations aimed at protecting Russian citizens in the two breakaway republics there. The Russian envoy told the press after the session: “I explained to Minister Hayashi that the military operations are intended for self-defense. They should not be viewed as an invasion. They are special military operations for defending our country from threats to Russian security. They are in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter.” He added that Japan’s sanctions will “not serve the interests” of Russo-Japanese relations.