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Mass. members of Congress condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine, call for humanitarian support

A woman waves an Ukrainian flag during a protest in front the Russian consulate on Feb. 24, 2022 in Varna, Bulgaria. (Hristo Rusev/Getty Images)
A woman waves an Ukrainian flag during a protest in front the Russian consulate on Feb. 24, 2022 in Varna, Bulgaria. (Hristo Rusev/Getty Images)

Russia's attacks on Ukraine drew criticism from leaders across the world on Thursday, including members of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation.

U.S. representatives and senators from Massachusetts had been watching the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine all week. Some came out in full support of President Biden's plans to impose sanctions on Russia.

But as the conflict took a turn late Wednesday night and reports came of Russian military forces and Russian-backed separatists firing missiles into major cities in Ukraine, state leaders escalated their condemnation of Russia's aggression while continuing to express support for Ukraine.

Below we've compiled their public remarks about the rapidly unfolding conflict.

Sen. Ed Markey

In a series of tweets Wednesday, Markey expressed sympathy with the Ukrainian people and used the conflict to highlight "the importance of eliminating U.S. and European reliance on Russian dirty energy," like oil and natural gas.

Following Thursday's attacks, Markey focused his message on uniting with Ukraine and against Russia.

Markey also weighed in on the conflict's looming humanitarian cost Thursday morning in Lynn.

"There will be refugees," Markey said. "There are going to be people who are seriously harmed or killed because of this event and we have to be there to say that the United States will be your friend."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Warren tweeted Tuesday in support of Biden's plans to impose sanctions against Russia, before releasing a fresh statement on the conflict late Thursday morning following the developments overnight.


Rep. Jake Auchincloss

Auchincloss predicts sanctions imposed against Russia by the United States and Western nations will be crippling to the Russian economy.

On WBUR's Radio Boston, Auchincloss said the U.S. response must go further than the sanctions imposed by President Biden Thursday.

"The sanctions are just one element we need to crush the Russian oil and gas sector," he said. "Clean energy is not just an environmental issue, it's not just good economics. It is maybe the single-most important strategic asset that the West can have in the coming generation."

The U.S. needs to wage an information campaign in the Russian homeland to show the Russian people what is really happening and to undermine Putin, Auchincloss said.

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Auchincloss also noted a personal connection to the terror provoked by Russia's invasion.

Rep. Katherine Clark

Earlier this week, Clark joined others in calling for sanctions against Russia in response to its "unprovoked dangerous actions against #Ukraine," as she wrote in a Feb. 22 tweet. In it, she went on to say, "America and its allies abroad must use every diplomatic tool we have to stop further aggression by Putin that threatens Ukraine's sovereignty and its people."

She tweeted Thursday the U.S. must hold Russian leaders accountable.

Rep. Bill Keating

Rep. Stephen Lynch

Lynch — who chairs the House national security subcommittee — joined WBUR's Morning Edition on Friday to discuss the situation.

He highlighted in a tweet on Thursday that Russia's attacks were a "naked use of military force against a civilian population."

He called on the U.S. and its allies to respond with "condemnation in the strongest possible terms."

Rep. Jim McGovern

McGovern posted a series of tweets, including one in which he retweeted Biden's message that "Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring."

McGovern focused his last tweet on the humanitarian crisis he said will ensue.

Rep. Seth Moulton

Rep. Richard Neal

In tweet Wednesday, Neal insisted on a "diplomatic solution" in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he described as "a brazen aggressor, acting in dangerous ways." In light of Thursday's attacks, Neal said, "We cannot and will not tolerate his authoritarian regime."

Rep. Ayanna Pressley

Pressley responded to Thursday's attacks in part by retweeting a statement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Russia's invasion of Ukraine is indefensible. The U.S. is right to impose targeted sanctions on Putin & his oligarchs. We also must work with our allies to prepare for a refugee crisis on a massive scale. Finally, any military action must take place with Congressional approval."

Pressley also posted her own remarks Thursday morning.

Rep. Lori Trahan

Trahan emphasized in a tweet that Russia's actions were a "violation of international law" that would be felt for "decades to come." In a second tweet, she extended sympathy with the Ukrainian people while also calling on world leaders to make de-escalation a "top priority."

This article was originally published on February 24, 2022.

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Vanessa Ochavillo is a WBUR newsroom fellow.

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