WTOP: Members of Congress condemn Russian attack on Ukraine

WTOP, WILL VITKA

D.C.-area lawmakers condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday, which hit cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has tragically brought decades of general peace to an end.”

Warner, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, pushed for the U.S. and NATO to stand up to Putin’s efforts.

“President (Joe) Biden has already imposed an initial tranche of sanctions, and it is now time for us to up the pain level for the Russian government. We should also continue to bolster the defenses of our NATO allies while exploring how we can further help the Ukrainian people in their time of need,” Warner said in a statement.

“While there is still an opportunity for Russia to reverse course, we can no longer hold out hope that this standoff will be resolved peacefully. Therefore, we must all, on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic, work together to demonstrate to Putin that this aggression will not be allowed to go unpunished.”

Warner told WTOP on Thursday morning he’s also concerned about Russian cyberattacks as well as well as direct military attacks.

“If they unleash their total cyber power against Ukraine, once you put malware attacks into network connected communities, they don’t know geographic boundaries. So shutting down the power in Ukraine might also shut down the power in eastern Poland, where our American troops are,” Warner said.

He noted that Latvia and Lithuania have already been hit by cyberattacks that were aimed at Ukraine. And he warned that U.S. “installations, financial systems, networks, could be under assault as well within 24, 48, 72 hours.”

“We’re in a very, very dangerous time,” Warner said.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and the Foreign Relations Committees, called Russia’s attack “an unacceptable affront to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to democracies everywhere.”

“America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions,” Kaine, D-Va., said in a statement.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., called for unity in condemning “Putin’s war,” saying it was “an act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man.”

“In the hours and days ahead, he must feel the sting of unprecedented sanctions from the United States and our partners around the world,” Spanberger said.

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., said his “prayers are with the proud people of Ukraine during this dark hour.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said Putin “will have blood on his hands.”

“As President Biden has made clear: we must answer this attack immediately with comprehensive and punishing economic sanctions imposed by every member of NATO, our other European partners, and freedom-supporting nations around the world. I wholeheartedly support the Administration’s actions so far — and now is a time to go further and deploy our toughest economic sanctions. The United States and our allies must also provide the Ukrainian resistance with the weapons they need to fight Russian occupation. And we should continue taking action to reinforce NATO troops in the frontline states. I am thankful for the American and allied service members who are already providing vital support,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout already reverberated around the world.

In unleashing Moscow’s most aggressive action since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Putin deflected global condemnation and cascading new sanctions — and chillingly referred to his country’s nuclear arsenal. He threatened any foreign country attempting to interfere with “consequences you have never seen.”

Sirens rang out in Ukraine’s capital, large explosions were heard there and in other cities, and people massed in train stations and took to roads, as the government said the former Soviet republic was seeing a long-anticipated invasion from the east, north and south. It reported more than 40 soldiers had been killed and dozens wounded so far.

The chief of the NATO alliance said the “brutal act of war” shattered peace in Europe, joining a chorus of world leaders who decried the attack, which could cause massive casualties, topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government and upend the post-Cold War security order. The conflict was already shaking global financial markets: Stocks plunged and oil prices soared amid concerns that heating bills and food prices would skyrocket.

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