Alaska elected officials react to Russian invasion of Ukraine

The invasion began Wednesday evening, Alaska time after a long military buildup.

Ukrainian servicemen sit atop armored personnel carriers driving on a road in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Ukrainian servicemen sit atop armored personnel carriers driving on a road in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

As world leaders across the globe respond to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, Alaska politicians also took to social media and released statements voicing their displeasure.

While most elected officials announced their vocal opposition to the Russian aggression against a sovereign nation, some also criticized President Joe Biden’s energy policies.

“Tonight, our worst fears in this crisis have been realized: Russia has invaded Ukraine and is committing acts of war against an innocent people,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a statement. “This unprovoked action has no place in the 21st century. It is a grievous violation of international law and longstanding norms. And I fear it will lead to massive devastation and a catastrophic loss of lives.”

According to the Associated Press, Russian ground forces were advancing on Ukraine cities from several directions, including incursions from Russia, Belarus and Russian-held Crimea. Russian ground forces also seized Chernobyl, site of a major nuclear disaster in 1986, which is about 80 miles from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Social media has also showed exchanges of fire between ground forces, aircraft shot out of the sky and strikes by aircraft and artillery on unknown targets.

[Biden hits Russia with sanctions]

“Freedom-loving people everywhere have long known Vladimir Putin to be an authoritarian thug. Overnight, he continued his attacks on Ukraine’s sovereignty by commencing unprovoked all-out war. In some ways, this is a new era for authoritarianism in Europe; Putin is carrying out traditional warfare on the ground, but is also engaged in 21st Century cyberwarfare,” said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, in a statement. “Make no mistake: he may be waging his unprovoked war with new technologies and capabilities, but his goal of restoring the former Soviet Union piece by piece is nothing new.”

Putin seized Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine, in 2014, which was only the beginning of his aggression against the neighboring state, Young said. Young also cautioned that other authoritarian leaders, specifically Xi Jinping, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, were watching the Russian actions and the response of the United States. In Russia, thousands have been arrested in anti-war demonstrations, according to the Associated Press.

“While we certainly have disagreements with the Biden administration over domestic energy production policies, today we stand as a unified nation against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and attack on democracy,” tweeted Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “Alaska stands ready to support U.S in efforts to thwart this aggression.”

Dunleavy had also tweeted the previous day about how Russian and Chinese action should motivate the U.S. and Biden to restart energy and mining policies from the previous administration. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, echoed the sentiment in a statement, in addition to tweeting about the need to oppose authoritarian aggression.

“Mr. President, you need to do much more. You need to get your boot off the neck of America’s energy producers. You need to approve the Keystone Pipeline, not Nordstream II. You need to ensure permitting is going forward, stop the litigation shutting down oil and gas leases on federal lands, and, of course, move forward on (the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve), not shut it down,” Sullivan said. “You need to ensure that critical minerals in this country are utilized, for our national security, for our economy, rather than shutting them down and delaying as you did recently in Alaska with the Ambler Road.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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