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Friday, September 29, 2023
Sept. 29, 2023

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Washington lawmakers condemn Russian attack on Ukraine as ‘cruel ambition’ of Putin


SEATTLE — Members of Washington’s congressional delegation strongly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and called for swift and severe sanctions.

“Russia must pay a crippling price for invading a sovereign democracy unprovoked,” Sen. Patty Murray said in a statement Thursday, laying the blame for the conflict squarely on “the cruel ambition of one dictator.”

“This is a time for our country and the world to stand united — in strong support of Ukraine and firmly against Putin and his cronies. I’m thinking of my constituents with friends, family, and loved ones in Ukraine — and my heart is with the Ukrainian people who only want peace, but are being forced to endure a brutal war,” said Murray, the third ranking Senate Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Russia “must immediately cease its assault” on Ukraine and that “Putin and his accomplices” should be held accountable.

“While I agree with President Biden’s choice not to place American service members in Ukraine, what happens in Ukraine matters for Americans’ security and economic priorities. A world in which Vladimir Putin can behave aggressively and with impunity toward Russia’s neighbors is a less safe, less free, and less prosperous world,” Smith said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, in a Thursday statement, called Ukraine “a proud and sovereign nation” and said Putin had ignored Ukrainians’ decision to live in a free democracy.

“His invasion of Ukraine marks another very dark moment in the history of Europe. In the face of this reckless aggression, we must stand together with our NATO allies and respond with unequivocal and unified action,” Cantwell said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, joined a group of progressive and conservative lawmakers this week in a letter warning President Joe Biden not to launch any military action without congressional approval.

In a joint statement Thursday, Jayapal, who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, joined U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, in calling the attack on Ukraine “a war of aggression” and a “blatant” violation of international law, while urging a peaceful resolution.

“We applaud President Biden for rightly saying there can be no military solution to this conflict, and wisely committing to not deploying U.S. troops,” Jayapal and Lee wrote.

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, who chairs the centrist New Democrat Coalition, tweeted that Putin’s “reckless and alarming attack” demands “a strong & coordinated response from the U.S. & democracies around the world to hold him accountable for this deadly, unnecessary, & tragic war.”

Washington’s senior Republican House member, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, also condemned Putin’s “unprovoked and unlawful invasion” in a statement that also called for an end to “anti-American energy policies.”

“I continue to urge President Biden to restore America’s energy dominance. It’s our most powerful weapon against Putin. We should be leading as the world’s dominant energy producer and promoting technologies that provide for the deployment of more clean, affordable, and reliable energy. Our allies must not be beholden to aggressors like Putin who use vital resources as a weapon against the West,” McMorris Rodgers said.