Brussels attacks a 'black day for Europe'

A victim receives first aid by rescuers near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries.
A victim receives first aid by rescuers near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Belgium's European partners responded with shock and solidarity Tuesday (March 22) after "terrorist attacks" at Brussels airport and a city metro station near the European Union's institutional heart left at least 21 people dead.

Russia and Turkey - themselves targets of attacks in recent months - condemned the blasts, saying they bore out the need to fight terrorism.

"Today is a black day for #Europe. The horrible events in #Brussels affect us all. We are steadfastly at the Belgians' side," German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.

 

"Our Union's capital is under attack. We mourn the dead & pledge to conquer terror through democracy," the Greek foreign ministry said in a tweet.

It added in French,"Nous sommes tous Bruxellois," - "We are all citizens of Brussels."

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven described the blasts as "an attack against democratic Europe".

"We will never accept that terrorists attack our open societies," he added.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: "My heart and spirit in Brussels, Europe," while Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said "the Brussels attacks strike the heart of our Europe".

 

Leaders from other parts of the world also condemned the attacks. "Singapore strongly condemns these appalling acts. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a letter to his Belgian counterpart Prime Minister Charles Michel. "We stand in solidarity with Belgium in the fight against terror," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said: The "barbarous crimes... demonstrate once again that terrorism has no borders and threatens people around the world. Fighting this evil calls for the most active international cooperation."

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased. One Indian Jet Airways crew member was reportedly injured in the airport attack. He tweeted: "News from Brussels is disturbing. The attacks are condemnable. Condolences to families of the deceased. May those injured recover quickly."

Mr Modi had been scheduled to visit Brussels next week to attend a European Union summit.