Members of Congress express solidarity with Ukraine and anger at Russia
As Russian troops invaded the Ukraine early Thursday morning blowing up military installations and demonizing the Ukrainian people as “Nazis,” a polarized America presented deeply divided reactions that seemed more about local politics than about defending a Democracy being thrown under the new Iron Curtain. But several members of Congress, however, focused on showing support for the now under-siege Democratic nation of Ukraine and the need to respond forcefully to Russia’s military assault.
By Ray Hanania
As Russian troops invaded the Ukraine early Thursday morning blowing up military installations and demonizing the Ukrainian people as “Nazis,” a polarized America presented deeply divided reactions that seemed more about local politics than about defending a Democracy being thrown under the new Iron Curtain.
But several members of Congress, however, focused on showing support for the now under-siege Democratic nation of Ukraine and the need to respond forcefully to Russia’s military assault.
While the far Right has criticized President Biden’s response and demanded more action without saying what that action is, the Far Left has stood by President Joe Biden but stopped short of embracing any U.S. military action.
All seem to support tougher sanctions on Russia, although in truth, the impact of sanctions is questionable, especially if you look at how ineffective sanctions have been in curbing Iran’s drive to establish a nuclear weapon.
But none have called for U.S. military intervention to stop Russia and most are placing the responsibility to stand up to Russia’s aggression on the Ukraine military and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Here’s an overview of react from members of Congress and Republican and Democratic leaders.
“My heart breaks for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who, as we speak, are under attack and bombardment by Russian troops. This unjustified invasion is not only a grave violation of international law and the Charter of the UN but represents one of the darkest moments for Europe since World War II,” said Illinois Congresswoman Marie Newman, a Democrat.
“The catastrophic loss of life and human suffering that this invasion will bring is unimaginable. Make no mistake, we will not tolerate the lies, the aggression and the senseless violence being carried out by the murderous dictator Vladimir Putin. In this moment of global crisis, the United States, our allies and our partners will ensure Putin’s Russia is isolated from the world and left weakened strategically, economically and diplomatically.”
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion a symbol of Putin’s “fear” of Ukraine’s Democracy and Democratic government.
“This unprovoked attack has brought into sharp focus the need to expel the current Kremlin leadership from the international community. Today must mark a historical shift in how the world views and deals with the despot in Moscow.,” Menendez said.
“The United States and our allies have successfully galvanized an international coalition to counter Russian aggression; now we must refuse to stand by and watch innocent Ukrainian men, women, and children suffer. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am committed to ensuring that the United States upholds our responsibility to exact maximum costs on Putin, the Russian economy, and those who enabled and facilitated this trampling of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Cybersecurity Subcommittee, called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “a blatant act of war.”
“This is an unacceptable attack and puts our allies in the region at risk. Protecting the rights and stability of self-determining nations around the world is a long-held American priority and cannot be forgotten. In response to the direct invasion of a sovereign state, the United States and our allies around the globe must take immediate action and impose crippling sanctions to address Russia’s anti-democratic, aggressive actions,” Manchin said.
“Vladimir Putin has made his intentions clear and is now acting on his longtime and dangerous ambitions. The United States will not tolerate this reprehensible behavior, and there will and must be consequences. Vladimir Putin has shown us who he is and we cannot try to appease him or sacrifice our national security and that of our allies.”
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky accused Putin of turning his back on the “Minsk process and diplomacy in favor of escalation and invasion of a sovereign country.”
McConnell predicted even further aggression by Putin beyond the invasion.
“If that occurs, many Ukrainians could die. The humanitarian consequences could be catastrophic. And the threat will not stop with Ukraine. All the free nations of the world will be affected if Putin’s aggression is allowed to stand unchallenged,” McConnell said.
“As he escalates his war against Ukraine, Putin must be made to pay a far heavier price than he paid for his previous invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. This should begin, but not end, with devastating sanctions against the Kremlin and its enablers. The President should waste no time in using his extensive existing authorities to impose these costs.
McConnell added, “Our NATO and EU allies must likewise take action to impose significant costs on Putin. Germany’s suspension of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a welcome but overdue announcement and must be turned into permanent cancellation.”
More than 40 members of Congress signed a letter demanding that President Biden not send any American troops to the Ukraine without first securing Congressional approval.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, “unequivocally” condemned Russia’s “immoral and illegal” invasion of Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression will inflict untold hardship, suffering, and death upon innocent civilians in Ukraine. It also threatens European security and will have serious consequences for the global economy,” Reed said.
“The U.S. must continue to use every diplomatic tool in our arsenal, in concert with the international community, to pressure the Kremlin to cease hostilities and pull its forces back from Ukraine.”
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