World leaders react to the assassination of Shinzo Abe

World leaders and public figures across the globe are reeling on Friday following the shocking news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed during a campaign speech in western Japan.

Abe, a divisive arch-conservative who had been the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot from behind minutes after he started his speech in Nara. He was airlifted to a hospital for emergency treatment and was later pronounced dead by hospital officials.

Police quickly arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of the attack.

Abe’s death was a shock to many in Japan, widely considered one of the world’s safest nations with some of the strictest gun control laws.

Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the shooting “dastardly and barbaric.”

Other leaders around the world also expressed their grief and shared condolences on Friday.

“The assassination of Abe Shinzo is incredibly shocking,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, saying the world has lost “a man of great vision.”

“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement released Friday morning. Biden called Abe “a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people.”

Former U.S. President Barack Obama recalled travelling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor with Abe and his wife Akie Abe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the murder as a “brutal assassination,” and offered his “deepest condolences” to the people of Japan.

Embattled U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that Abe’s “global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a photo of himself with his “dear friend” Abe.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences, stating that Abe “dedicated his life and work to his people and fostering balance in the world.”

President of the European Union Commission Ursula von der Leyen, called Abe a “wonderful person, great democrat and champion of the multilateral world.”

Here is how other leaders and public figures from around the world are reacting.

More to come.

With files from The Associated Press

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