News of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves around the world Thursday, with local lawmakers condemning President Vladimir Putin's actions and expressing support for harsh sanctions against Russia.
U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Massachusetts, who was in Germany this week for meetings over the conflict, said he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are introducing a sanctions bill that mirrors legislation in the UK aimed at crippling Russia's elite.
"They support Putin, Putin supports them, and that's where he get his political strength, as well," said Keating. "So by targeting them, we're putting the most pressure on Putin himself, because that's where he gets his incredible wealth."
Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass., just returned from a trip abroad where Ukraine was the headlining topic in a series of meetings.
Keating noted that Putin has accumulated enough reserves over the years to get to this point where he could withstand about six months of sanctions.
Fellow New England lawmakers echoed that sentiment, calling for swift and severe consequences for Putin, as an adviser to Ukraine's president reported Thursday morning that about 40 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed so far in the Russian attack.
“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a violation of international law, and constitutes a massively destabilizing event with repercussions that will be felt for decades to come. Vladimir Putin and his enablers must pay a heavy price for their unjustified aggression,” Congresswoman Lori Trahan, D-Massachusetts, said in a statement. “I support President Biden’s unequivocal commitment to Ukraine and to our NATO allies, and trust that as his Administration continues to monitor and respond to the evolving situation in Europe, he will make every effort to keep Congress informed and engaged. An immediate drawdown of Russian military forces that protects Ukraine’s sovereignty must now be the international community’s top priority.”
“The West tried to find a peaceful solution in Ukraine, but Vladimir Putin rejected diplomacy and chose war. He is solely responsible for the unprovoked bloodshed in Ukraine. He will be held accountable before Russia’s next act of aggression," Congressman Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts, said in a statement.
“My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their autonomy and freedom. They did nothing to provoke this violent attack,” Moulton added.
Rep. Richard Neal echoed the same sentiment as others, writing that the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces is unjustified and unprovoked.
"Putin must be held responsible, and I condemn his deadly actions. We cannot and will not tolerate his authoritarian regime," Neal said on Twitter. "Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and we must support them and their people."
Congressman Stephen Lynch said Putin "will have blood on his hands for his war of choice against Ukraine."
"This is an unjustified, unprovoked attack against the free and sovereign nation of Ukraine and an affront to international peace and stability. Russia's actions require condemnation in the strongest possible terms," Lynch said in a statement. "I support President Biden's efforts to unite the NATO alliance against this naked use of military force against a civilian population. The free world must stand united and send a clear message to Vladimir Putin that his belligerence will not be tolerated and will only further isolate Russia from the international community."
Rep. Katherine Clark said "Putin has illegally and callously threatened the sovereignty and security of Ukraine."
"My thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people in this perilous time," Clark said in a tweet. "Accountability for Putin and peace for Ukraine must be our goal."
Sen. Ed Markey said the world is united against Putin, saying of the Russian leader that his invasion of Ukraine is "spurred by the delusional aspirations of a weak dictator."
Rep. Jim McGovern said he condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia's "unjustified, unprovoked military attack against Ukraine."
"I fully support President Biden's actions--alongside our allies--to impose targeted sanctions against President Putin and his corrupt regime," McGovern said in a tweet. "America must continue to focus on coordinated diplomacy to de-escalate and resolve this crisis."
Former Congressman Joe Kennedy III said he is devastated by the images and news out of Ukraine.
"Sending prayers to her people, the countless innocent lives facing unfathomable tragedy today," Kennedy said in a tweet. "The United States and its allies must stand united and strong against Putin and his cruel, senseless war."
In New Hampshire, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan called for "crushing economic sanctions" and "crippling consequences" for Putin and the Russian economy.
"Vladimir Putin will face the full wrath of the transatlantic alliance for violating Ukraine's sovereignty and waging war on the Ukrainian people," Shaheen said in a statement. "I urge the Biden administration to respond swiftly and in concert with our allies to impose crushing economic sanctions on Kremlin officials, Russian entities and other actors involved in this attack on Ukraine."
"Russia's unprovoked and unconscionable invasion of another sovereign nation is a direct threat not only to the people of Ukraine, but to peace, freedom, and security in every corner of the world," said Hassan. "The United States and our allies must bring to bear crippling consequences on Vladimir Putin and the Russian economy as a whole, as we also provide support to the Ukrainian people and our NATO allies. Americans must stand united, and our NATO alliance must stand strong against Putin's aggression."
In Connecticut, Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal expressed solidarity with Ukrainians who are fighting against a "foreign tyrant."
"Putin's decision to invade is an evil, panicked move of weakness and will be his defining mistake," Murphy said in a tweet. "If Putin does not pay a devastating price for this transgression, then our own security will soon be at risk."
"The USA stands with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their freedom from Russian tyranny," Blumenthal said on Twitter.
Congressman Jim Himes said he was praying for the people of Ukraine, noting the "the world must now show that Putin’s evil will never be accepted."
"The Russian people must now realize who governs in their name. And Americans must now look hard at who was on the wrong side of all this," Himes said in a tweet.
In Rhode Island, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said he stands with the people of Ukraine, who are facing unprovoked violence and bloodshed "at the hands of a brutal, corrupt regime."
"Putin and his cronies must pay dearly for this," Whitehouse said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jack Reed called Putin's invasion of Ukraine "illegal and immoral."
"His military is likely to achieve rapid dominance at the outset, but the Ukrainian people are not easily defeated," Reed said in a tweet. "We are witnessing the start of a long, bloody, ugly conflict that Putin cannot win."
Rep. John Larson reiterated that this invasion by Russia is "unwarranted and dangerous," saying the United States stands with Ukraine and its people against this unprovoked aggression from Russia.
Congressman Jim Langevin said news of Russia's invasion is absolutely devastating, calling Putin "a thug dead set on upending a sovereign democracy and reconstituting the borders of the USSR."
"Putin must be stopped, and he must pay for his crimes against the innocent Ukrainian people," Langevin said on Twitter.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said he and his wife are praying for the people of Ukraine, an independent country with a democratically elected government that has not threatened Russia.
"The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin is based on his twisted interpretation of world history and current affairs. Because he refused any of the numerous off-ramps offered by President Biden and the rest of the nations of the world toward diplomatically resolving whatever concerns he claims are motivated his actions, the Ukrainian people are facing the grievous suffering and devastating losses inevitable from war," Leahy said in a statement.
"Putin's aggressions have profound consequences for Russians as well, having created a self-fulfilling prophecy of his insincere words of the last few months as Russia now stands alone as an enemy to regional peace and stability. This invasion of Ukraine prompts the question: where will Putin strike next?," Leahy wrote.
"I will working with President Biden to ensure that the United States does all it can to support Ukraine and our allies in Eastern Europe. And we must also help the innocent people caught in the middle of this needless calamity."
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said we should all be concerned that Putin is exactly the kind of leader former U.S. President Donald Trump would like to be.
"It is outrageous, if unsurprising, that Trump would praise Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine as an act of 'genius,'" Sanders wrote on Twitter. "It should concern us all that Putin is exactly the kind of leader Trump would like to be, and that so few Republicans have the courage to say this out loud."
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, called Putin’s invasion of Ukraine violates international law and is "the most significant military action in Europe since WWII."
"America stands with the people of Ukraine," Pingree wrote on Twitter.
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