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What Colorado leaders are saying after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

A senior U.S. defense official said Thursday's attack by Russia appears to be the first phase in what will likely be a multiple phased, large-scale invasion.

COLORADO, USA — Elected leaders in Colorado are joining leaders from around the world reacting to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The attack began before dawn and brought explosions to Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and other cities.

Ukraine’s leadership said Thursday at least 40 people have been killed so far in what it called a “full-scale war” targeting the country from the east, north and south. 

The U.S. hasn't specified just what measures it will take now, although administration officials have made clear that all-out sanctions against Russia's major banks and export limits are among the likely options.

Colorado's top lawmakers' responses are essentially split down the party line, with Republicans taking aim at President Joe Biden and other Democrats for what they say is weakness, as well as American reliance on foreign oil. Democrats said Vladimir Putin's self-serving interests and tyranny are pushing the world toward war.

Both sides seem to agree that swift action needs to be taken to stop Russian's military aggression in Ukraine.

Credit: AP
Smoke and flame rise from the debris of a privet house in the aftermath of Russian shelling outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

Gov. Jared Polis (D)

Gov. Polis released the following statement today regarding the Russian military invasion of Ukraine.  

“Ruthless dictator Vladimir Putin’s Russian military aggression in Ukraine violates the freedoms we uphold in our nation and support around the globe. Colorado stands on the side of freedom. War, violence, and chaos threaten the very foundations of the global economy and our national security. I assure Ukrainians that they have the support and prayers of our state. So too we must take action to prevent severe economic fallout and further cost increases for hardworking Coloradans. I join leaders of our federal delegation in urging Congress to immediately suspend the federal gas tax and double down on a rapid clean energy transition to ensure that our energy future cannot be tied to geopolitical conflicts and global commodities.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 

A member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Michael Bennet released the following statement:

“Putin’s corrupt and self-serving distortion of history and disregard for international law has upended the post WWII order. His violent path will result in grave consequences not only for the Ukrainian people but for the Russian people as well.

“The United States, coordinating with our allies and partners, must punish Putin immediately for his unprovoked aggression. We should impose the full weight of economic sanctions right now, explore options to bolster the Ukrainian resistance, and stand resolute in our support of democracy and the rule of law.”

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D)

"Ukraine is under attack. This is the largest invasion of Europe since WWII. We stand ready to support the people of Ukraine — you’re not alone. Working with our allies, we must enact crippling sanctions & show Putin the consequences of his tyranny will be devastating for Russia."

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R)

"Putin has been emboldened by Joe Biden's destructive policies and weak leadership. By killing the Keystone pipeline on day 1 and lifting sanctions on Nord Stream 2 last May, Biden has allowed Russia to weaponize its energy on the world state … Once again, Joe Biden has put the American people, and our interests around the world, last …"

Read the full statement here.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R)

Buck did not appear to release a written statement, but speaking on Newsmax Thursday, he said:

"Optics matter, and President Biden has not shown strength. He hasn't shown strength in the withdraw in Afghanistan. He hasn't shown strength in other areas. I think it's time that President Biden shows strength. I also think it's time that the secretary of defense, secretary of state take a more aggressive position on this. We keep talking about diplomacy. The time for diplomacy is over. [It's] he time to make sure that our European allies know that we stand strongly with them and that our sanctions are actually effective. There are sanctions that hurt a country generally and there are sanctions that hurt the people that are most closely tied to Putin, and those sanctions, those very personal sanctions, should be imposed very quickly."

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow (D)

A member of the House Armed Services and House Intelligence Committees, Rep. Jason Crow released the following statement:

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not just a violation of international law but also a tyrannical, unprovoked act of aggression against a free and sovereign democratic nation. It will cause terrible death and suffering for both the Ukrainian and Russian people. Putin’s goal is clear: to redraw borders to reestablish the Soviet block and usurp democracy in Europe and throughout the world. The U.S. and international response must be swift and crippling. We must immediately:

  1. Impose comprehensive economic sanctions to shut Russia off from the international financial system, 
  2. Condemn and marginalize Russian officials, 
  3. Establish long-term support for the Ukrainian armed resistance and civil society mobilization, 
  4. Prepare to meet and care for the flow of refugees from Ukraine, and 
  5. Conduct a swift realignment of NATO military posture in Europe. 

“It’s time for the free world to unite and stop this tyranny. We must never stop defending democracy at home or abroad.”

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D)

 Rep. Diana DeGette released the following statement:

“There’s a special place in hell for people like Vladimir Putin. By launching a full-blown, unprovoked, unjustifiable attack on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin – and Vladimir Putin alone – is responsible for the catastrophic loss of life and unprecedented destruction that this war will bring. The U.S. and its allies stand steadfast with the people of Ukraine in this fight to protect their sovereignty. We will not stand idly by and watch a peaceful nation be overrun in such a brutal way. The U.S. will continue to work closely with our partners and allies around the world to ensure Russia is held fully accountable and pays a tremendous price for its actions.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R)

"Weakness invites aggression. Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine, with all the bloodshed, destruction, and instability that brings, as a direct result of Joe Biden's weakness. In just 13 short months, Biden made a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, failed to fully sanction the Nord Stream II Pipeline, and begged the Russians and others to increase oil production after shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline. Although the blood of innocent Ukrainians is on Putin's hands, it is Joe Biden's failures that set the stage. Weakness invites aggression."

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D)

"Putin bears full responsibility for this unprovoked attack against Ukraine, a blatant violation of sovereignty that shakes the foundations of international security. Working with our allies, we must stand for the rule of law & impose severe sanctions that hold Russia accountable."

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D)

“Vladimir Putin will be held accountable for Russia’s reckless and unjustified attack on Ukraine and its people. I support the swift and severe response from the Biden Administration and our allies to hold Russia accountable for their actions. The U.S. and our allies should use every tool in its toolbox to punish Russia while continuing to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and the Ukrainian people in the wake of continued aggression by Russian military forces.”

Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown

Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown released the following statement:

“Colorado Republicans stand with the people of Ukraine against this illegal invasion. Sadly, it seems that Putin has been emboldened by a lack of American leadership. It's clear that President Biden and Senator Bennet are both partially to blame. Both failed to support strong sanctions on Russian energy, both supported and defended an embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan, and both supported the cancellation of America's energy dominance. It's time for America's leaders to step up and face this threat with strength, not weakness."

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