STAR TRIBUNE STAFF
Minnesota's state and federal elected officials are weighing in on Russia's wide-ranging attack on Ukraine. Here are some of their initial reactions:
Gov. Tim Walz:
"Minnesota stands with the people of Ukraine and condemns Russia for this illegal aggression. Leaders across the world must unite and respond to this attack on democracy."
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
"[Putin] has got to be told once and for all that the world is not his playground, and that he signed treaties respecting the rights of countries to preserve their own security and he is violating them."
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith:
"Russia's premeditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democratic nation, is an affront to freedom and democracy around the world. Putin's decision to launch this unjustified war will cause catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia must be held accountable for this blatant and illegal aggression, and I will continue to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country. I commend the Biden administration for leading a unified front with our NATO allies to impose swift and severe sanctions that will dramatically weaken Russia's economic and strategic positions."
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense:
"Russia's invasion of a peaceful Ukraine is an act of unprovoked military aggression that must be condemned. The Biden administration, with the bipartisan support of Congress and our NATO and European allies, will respond in a united and decisive manner. The strongest possible sanctions must be imposed on Russian financial institutions, oligarchs, and political leaders by the U.S. and the international community. The world must make Vladimir Putin understand in explicit, unequivocal terms that his actions will have severe consequences.
"Having met with world leaders, allies, and parliamentarians many times during my service in Congress, never before have I witnessed such a unified stance like the one our democratic allies showed at the Munich Security Conference in response to Putin's aggression. He will not divide us. My prayers are with the Ukrainian people and their struggle for freedom."
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer:
"Vladimir Putin's unwarranted invasion of Ukraine is a result of weak leadership on the world stage. Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people and their families as they bear the brunt of these unlawful actions, and our response to these aggressions must be done in a swift and unwavering manner that holds Russia — and any other nation seeking to violate international law — to account, while restoring American energy and economic dominance here at home."
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips:
"You're either for Democracy or for authoritarianism. Here and abroad. Shame on anyone who puts politics above principle right now. Let's be America. America leads. We do not resign. We do not ignore. Democracies, no matter nascent nor mature, must protect one another as a matter of principle. Let's get together on this."
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber:
"Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is unacceptable. The United States must stand strong with the Ukrainian people and our allies against this aggression, and Putin's actions must have severe consequences. I am praying for the Ukrainian people during their fight for freedom."
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar:
"I support sanctions that are targeted at Putin, his oligarchs, and the Russian military, including and especially targeted at their offshore assets. But I will continue to oppose broad-based sanctions that would amount to collective punishment of a Russian population that did not choose this. I am heartened that the Biden Administration has included humanitarian exemptions and general licenses to the first tranche of sanctions, but I am also aware that exemptions and licenses have never been sufficient to prevent indiscriminate human suffering.
Finally, we must direct some of the unity and resolve that we and our partners have shown in this crisis toward the civilians that are in harm's way. This includes making allowances for humanitarian organizations to operate in sanctioned territory, and it also includes preparing to welcome the likely influx of refugees fleeing the conflict. As always, the countries immediately bordering Ukraine will face the greatest burden. The United States should lead by example, and begin to resettle refugees here as soon as it becomes necessary."
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig:
"This morning, as we watch the news of war in Europe unfold, my heart is with the Ukrainian people. I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this unlawful military action by Russia, which will doubtlessly lead to profound human loss and suffering.
Vladimir Putin's actions violate the core principles that uphold global peace and security, seeking to change the borders of a sovereign country by force. This demonstrates a clear disregard for Ukraine's sovereignty and the rights of the Ukrainian people – and is in clear violation of international law. In the hours and days to come, the United States, in coordination with its allies around the globe, must impose severe economic consequences on Russia, support NATO and rally international support for the legitimate, democratically elected government of Ukraine."
U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach:
"Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty is unjust and unacceptable. We are dealing with a culmination of this administration's failed economic policy, energy policy, and foreign policy. It is past time for the United States to reassert its leadership. America and the rest of the free world must stand together in face of this aggression. I pray for and stand in solidarity with our friends and democratic allies, the people of Ukraine."