BERLIN-German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, accusing him of launching a crusade against the West and the rules-based international order.

 “This war is not only about Ukraine. (Putin and his enablers) consider the war against Ukraine to be part of a larger crusade,” Scholz said in a video message for the Progressive Governance Summit.

 “A crusade against liberal democracy. A crusade against the rules-based international order. A crusade against freedom and progress,” the Social Democrat politician said.

 “A crusade against our way of life. And a crusade against what Putin calls the collective West. He means all of us,” Scholz added. His comments came days after Russia launched a wave of missile strikes across Ukraine this week, following a blast which damaged a strategic bridge linking Russia and Crimea. Ukraine shells housing near border in Russia’s Belgorod.

A residential building in the southern Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border was hit Thursday in shelling by Kyiv’s forces, the city governor said. 

“The Ukrainian armed forces shelled Belgorod. There is damage at a residential apartment building on Gubkin street.

 Information about the victims is being detailed,” the Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement on Telegram.