CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS) — Local congressional leaders began reacting Thursday morning as the western world woke up to news of Russia’s reported invasion of Ukraine.
Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee, according to a report by The Associated Press.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., called the move an “act of war” in a tweet Thursday morning.
“Russia’s invasion is a blatant act of war against Ukraine,” Manchin said in the statement. “This is an unacceptable attack and puts our allies in the region at risk.”
Manchin called for “immediate action” from the U.S. and its allies along with additional sanctions against Russia.
“Vladimir Putin has made his intentions clear and is now acting on his longtime and dangerous ambitions,” Manchin said. “The United States will not tolerate this reprehensible behavior, and there will and must be consequences. Vladimir Putin has shown us who he is and we cannot try to appease him or sacrifice our national security and that of our allies.”
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., issued the following statement, saying her chief concern was for the people of Ukraine.
"It is critical that we stand with them and support them during this time," Capito said. "The free world must never accept when a country invades another sovereign nation. Make no mistake: Despite Vladimir Putin’s misleading words, this is an invasion, and his actions will undoubtedly harm innocent people. We must lead on behalf of our NATO allies and those who cherish freedom to ensure the actions we take prevent a tyrant from overthrowing a free and sovereign democracy. While I believe that President Biden’s words have been ineffective, too late, and too passive for the current situation, we must unify and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine."
U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said Thursday he has joined 42 others in the U.S. House of Representatives in a bipartisan effort calling for President Joe Biden to receive authorization from Congress before any escalation of U.S. military involvement in the invasion.
U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., expressed her support for more sanctions against Russia in response to the attack.
"I am fully supportive of the strongest possible sanctions against Russia, including freezing the assets of Vladimir Putin and every Russian oligarch, and immediately distributing that money to the people of Ukraine,” Miller said in a statement. “We must also remove Russia from the SWIFT banking system, and immediately boost U.S. energy output to keep energy prices and access stable both at home and worldwide."
Miller also expressed her support for the Ukrainian people.
"The United States stands united behind Ukraine in their fight for freedom and democracy, and against evil and terror,” she said. “Vladimir Putin will be held accountable. May God be with the Ukrainian people.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, applauded the Biden administration’s plan to impose stricter economic and financial sanctions on Russia and Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine is an affront to freedom and democracy the world over," Brown said in a statement. "This attack will be met with united, decisive action by the United States and our allies. Vladimir Putin chose war, he is unleashing senseless death and destruction on the Ukrainian people, and he will face the consequences. President Biden has made it clear the U.S. and our allies and partners will impose the strongest sanctions Russia has ever seen, and I will work with the Biden administration to implement them against Russian officials and oligarchs who prop up Putin’s regime."
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., appeared to place partial blame on the Biden administration for Thursday’s invasion in a series of tweets.
“Vladimir Putin’s words can’t be trusted – his track record of thuggish behavior proved he would stop at nothing to restore the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, President Biden’s toothless diplomacy failed to deter Russia’s advances,” McKinley said. “By contrast, President Trump projected American strength, preventing Putin from taking the actions we are seeing today.”
McKinley called the invasion a “reckless act” and called for serious consequences and harsh sanctions against Russia.