Numerous Republican Senators responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a full-scale invasion during the early morning hours on Thursday with a variety of statements that offered support for Ukraine and called for immediate action.
The attacks started at approximately the same time that Putin announced that he was launching a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The Daily Wire reported that the initial wave of Russian attacks against Ukraine targeted military and government facilities, airfields, and installations along the border and large explosions were seen in videos posted on social media. Ukraine said that Belarus, which is aligned with Putin, assisted Russia in attacking Ukraine. A senior Ukrainian official told The Wall Street Journal that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers died in the initial volley of attacks. That number is likely to quickly rise as Russian ground forces entered Ukrainian and Russia has launched attacks against targets in multiple cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mariupol, and others.
Initial statements that were available from Republican Senators included:
- Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL): “Keep Ukraine in your prayers.”
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “Tonight, our worst fears in this crisis have been realized: Russia has invaded Ukraine and is committing acts of war against an innocent people. This unprovoked action has no place in the 21st century. It is a grievous violation of international law and longstanding norms. And I fear it will lead to massive devastation and a catastrophic loss of lives. This invasion came with a clear view, formed over the course of years and only reinforced in recent months, that the West is divided and will not make Russia pay for its actions. Now we must prove Vladimir Putin and his regime wrong, and hold them accountable for their aggressions. America must remain steadfast to our allies, and the world must quickly unite around severe sanctions and penalties to punish Russia for its crimes. Above all, we pray for the Ukrainian people. We know they are strong and brave, and will face this brutal tyranny with true courage.”
- Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): “Tonight we pray for the people of Ukraine as their freedom and safety are under grave assault. History will show they have not sought this conflict, but are justified in defending their sovereignty with courage and clarity.”
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “#Putin thinks #Russia’s troops will be greeted as liberators. He may soon find out occupying #Ukraine is about as fun as eating a porcupine.”
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): “I first traveled to Ukraine in 1989 as a college student, celebrated when they voted for independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, & served alongside Ukrainians in the Global War on Terror. Ukraine wants freedom; the free world must stand with them. My prayers are with the Ukrainian people.”
- Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “Russia has just become a pariah nation. Everything short of involving US forces should be done to punish this action. This should be unrelenting.”
- Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): “Putin is invading and waging war on a sovereign nation and its people. There’s no room for weakness in response. President Biden should impose swift, comprehensive, crippling sanctions on Russia. The only path to peace is through unwavering strength.”
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO): “Joe Biden has shown nothing but weakness and indecision. Now is the time to show strong purpose. Sanction Russia’s energy sector – the engine of its economy – to its knees and reopen American energy production full throttle.”
- Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT): “Praying for the people of Ukraine.”
- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): “God Bless Ukraine and its people.🇺🇦 Many will face unspeakable danger because of a corrupt and paranoid dictator. We must support Ukraine with financial support and military equipment and we must severely punish Putin’s regime for starting war and spilling innocent blood.”
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “Tonight, President Putin declared an illegal, unwarranted attack on the people of Ukraine. I condemn this latest Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. This violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation is unprovoked, is a flagrant violation of international law, and will result in senseless loss of life. This is a foreign policy crisis not just for Ukraine, but for the United States and all freedom-loving countries around the globe. It has already begun to destabilize Eastern Europe in ways not seen since World War II and started a humanitarian crisis. It is absolutely vital that the United States immediately take decisive action to support Ukraine and our NATO allies in Eastern Europe. First, President Putin must be held accountable for his actions. Among other measures, the United States and other allies must enact devastating sanctions on Russian leadership, oligarchs, and the economy, including secondary sanctions on financial institutions and sectoral sanctions. The Biden administration promised tough sanctions. The administration must stand by that commitment. We can and we must cripple Russia’s military by starving it of financing. Next, we must impose export and import controls, especially of vital electronic goods like semiconductors. Doing so could restrict the tools Russia needs to manufacture and resupply its military. Next, we must increase military support to Ukraine and other allies in the region, including Poland, Romania, and the Baltic countries. The administration’s approval of the sale of 250 M1A2 Abrams tanks to Poland and its decision to reposition U.S. forces in Europe to more forward posture as a defensive measure are positive first steps but more must be done. In addition to increased military support to Ukraine including antitank, antiship, anti aircraft and an array of other weapons, a NATO Rapid Response Force is warranted alongside an increased U.S. posture in the Baltics and Poland. We must also improve the readiness of our own military as an act of deterrence during the current budget process in order to ensure our most innovative and effective defense technologies receive needed support and to also ensure that our current systems and military hardware do not fall into further disrepair.”
- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “I condemn Putin’s reckless, unprovoked strikes on Ukraine – shocking but not surprising given his clear, deliberate, year-long buildup. We must hit Putin where it hurts – that starts with @potus imposing all possible sanctions and boosting aid to Ukraine & defense in the region.”
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Our prayers are with #Ukraine. Imperative that we continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons as well as good intelligence. The world needs to condemn Putin’s destruction of a neighboring democracy as a war crime. Putin and his cronies should be pursued by international law enforcement agencies for the purpose of seizing their lavish apartments, fine art, yachts, and other material goods purchased through stealing the Russian people blind. It’s time to make this personal to Putin.”
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): “We pray for the people of Ukraine as they defend against Putin’s attempt to rebuild the old Soviet Union. Biden must stand up to Putin and immediately levy severe sanctions against Russia — starting with removal from the SWIFT banking system. The USA stands with Ukraine.”
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Following news of Putin’s further invasion of Ukraine with enormous concern and anger. The US will stand with our Ukrainian allies, continue to provide them with arms to defend themselves, and work to counter Putin and hold accountable those responsible for this aggression.”
- Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT): “Putin’s Ukraine invasion is the first time in 80 years that a great power has moved to conquer a sovereign nation. It is without justification, without provocation and without honor. Putin’s impunity predictably follows our tepid response to his previous horrors in Georgia and Crimea, our naive efforts at a one-sided ‘reset,’ and the shortsidedness of ‘America First.’ The ’80s called and we didn’t answer. The peril of again looking away from Putin’s tyranny falls not just on the people of the nations he has violated, it falls on America as well. History shows that a tyrant’s appetite for conquest is never satiated. America and our allies must answer the call to protect freedom by subjecting Putin and Russia to the harshest economic penalties, by expelling them from global institutions, and by committing ourselves to the expansion and modernization of our national defense.”
- Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): “I strongly condemn the ruthless and unprovoked attacks by Russia against the people of Ukraine. The United States and our allies must hold Putin accountable and respond with the most aggressive and devastating sanctions possible.”
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