“My colleagues, Europe is at war at this very moment,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said today while addressing the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly.
As he spoke, Mississippi’s senior Republican U.S. senator denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a military invasion in Ukraine.
“The lives of tens of thousands of young Europeans hang in the balance at this very moment because of the delusional dictatorship currently in control in Russia and because of his brazen attack,” Wicker said.
“The free world deserves better than this modern-day Adolf Hitler. If Vladimir Putin’s recent words and deeds have a haunting familiarity, it is because they are directly out of the Nazi madman’s notebook.”
‘He Wants To Reestablish the Former Soviet Union’
President Joe Biden responded to Putin’s invasion with a package of economic sanctions, targeting Russian banks and other assets with the goal of punishing the Eurasian nation for its actions. The president said Putin “has much larger ambitions than Ukraine.”
“He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about,” Biden said today.
Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1991, which brought the end of the brutal communist regime that had ruled Russia and much of eastern Europe for much of the 20th century.
Mississippi’s junior U.S. senator, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, warned that Russia’s actions represent a “true global threat.”
GOP House Reps Call Biden ‘Weak’ on Ukraine
Mississippi’s three Republican U.S. House representatives all condemned the attacks, but criticized Biden’s handling of it. Rep. Steven Palazzo accused Biden of “timidness”; Rep. Trent Kelly said the White House is exhibiting a “lack of leadership”; and Rep. Michael Guest described the president’s approach as “weak leadership.”
No Mississippi Republican has spoken about the fact that the former Republican president, Donald Trump, has praised Putin as a “genius” in recent days and claimed today that he is going into Ukraine as a “peacekeeper.” In 2016, Trump ordered the GOP to weaken its plaform’s stance on support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.
In 2019, Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to assist his 2020 election bid by announcing an investigation into Biden based on fabricated conspiracy theories. Though Zelensky refused, the fact that Trump had threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky complied resulted in Trump’s first impeachment. Every Mississippi Republican in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate voted against impeaching Trump and did so again a year later during his second impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
As he announced the invasion of Ukraine last night, Putin warned that “anyone who tries to interfere with us” would face “consequences you have never faced in your history”—a remark many understood as a threat of nuclear attack.
During his remarks today, Biden stressed that the U.S. will not get involved in a military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.
“Although we provided over $650 million in defensive assistance to Ukraine just this year—this last year, let me say it again: Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” Biden said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO Allies and reassure those Allies in the east.”
Full statements from Mississippi officials on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are as follows:
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
“My colleagues, Europe is at war at this very moment. The lives of tens of thousands of young Europeans hang in the balance at this very moment because of the delusional dictatorship currently in control in Russia and because of his brazen attack. The free world deserves better than this modern-day Adolf Hitler. If Vladimir Putin’s recent words and deeds have a haunting familiarity, it is because they are directly out of the Nazi madman’s notebook.
“I mean no offense to the Russian delegates to this assembly. In effect, they have no alternative but to parrot the Putin line. If they took a position to the contrary, they would upon returning to Moscow meet a fate similar to those of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Nemtsov, Sergei Magnitski, and Alexey Navalny.
“I join the virtual unanimous denunciation by my OSCE (Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe) colleagues of this outrage, of this trampling of seven decades of a rules-based world order. But I must use the few seconds I have today to sound a warning to the defensive military alliance to which most of us belong.
“If Vladimir Putin succeeds in Ukraine, he will not stop there—just as he did not stop with Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, and the Donbass. How can any of us realistically believe he will stop with Ukraine? According to Putin’s twisted rationale, every former republic of the USSR is at risk. NATO is at risk. Every member of the peace-loving international community is at risk of being swept up into this conflict.
“And, my colleagues, we are not ready. Our collective military capability is not sufficient to deter the aggression that the Russian dictator is likely to pursue. I will in the coming hours and days try to persuade my president, President Biden, and the House and Senate, to pass a supplemental national security spending bill immediately. I give the same warning to NATO. It is time for my government and the governments of all nations to rethink our priorities, and reorder the military capability of our alliance. Thank you.”
U.S. Sen. Cindy-Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.
“The whole world must condemn Putin’s despicable attack on Ukraine, a free and sovereign nation. It’s a true threat to global security. The response from President Biden and our allies should ensure Putin pays dearly for this gross violation of international law.”
Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss., 1st Congressional District
“The invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin is tragic and unacceptable. The lack of leadership by the current administration is one of the leading factors in the Russian’s aggressive actions. Strong response from a unified NATO and Europe is required to show Russia this aggression is not acceptable. Additionally, strong economic and political sanctions should be imposed and continue until Russia’s provocative actions are stopped. America and its world allies must stand strong against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, R-Miss., 2nd Congressional District, U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a brazen assault on democracy. Not just in Ukraine, but democracies around the globe. This unprovoked attack will have repercussions beyond Ukraine and surrounding countries. Indeed, we have already seen Russia use cyberattacks against Ukraine that risk effects outside its borders.
“This is a time for Americans to be vigilant. Particularly in the cyber domain. Threats in this domain are not new, but the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine may lead to more cyber attacks and more victims in America. We live in a free and open society, and that freedom can leave us vulnerable to these attacks from Russia and the criminal organizations it harbors. We urge all Americans to take prudent steps to protect themselves and their businesses online.”
Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., 3rd Congressional District
“Last night, Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion into the autonomous country of Ukraine. Despite his attempts to justify this direct breach of international law through falsehoods and lies, the world understands this move for what it is—a reckless and evil attempt to seize control of a sovereign and democratic country.
“The consequences of weak leadership during this time will result in devastating consequences for the world. If peace and democracy are to prevail, the United States and NATO must issue swift and crippling economic sanctions against Russia and its leaders responsible for these clear actions of war. I fully condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and I stand ready to join our leaders in Washington and across the world in holding Putin accountable for his actions.
Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., 4th Congressional District
“President Biden continues to rationalize his weak sanctions against Russia with the excuse, “these things take time.” The Ukrainian people being killed in their homes do not have time, Mr. President. The United States cannot afford to respond with timidness.”
David Sellers, Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District
“Vladimir Putin is a bully. The entire free world must stand together and show that we are not afraid of a bully.
My prayers are with the people of Ukraine.
Mississippi Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, Republican candidate for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District
“Vladimir Putin’s actions confirm his status as a dictator and threat to democracy. What Putin is doing in Ukraine is a direct result of the weakness of the current White House and its incoherent foreign policy strategy. And now China has been emboldened to flex its muscles about Taiwan for the same reasons.
“Our nation’s national security is endangered by instability among the major powers of the world, and there will never be stability when the United States is seen as weak and indecisive. Besides that, our allies deserve better than hand wringing. And that is not a partisan comment, it is a statement of who we are as a nation.”
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, Republican candidate for Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be allowed to go unpunished. It’s past time for Joe Biden to lead on sanctioning Putin instead of waiting for other nations to take action. The world needs an America that stands strong against dictators and tyrants.”
Mississippi House Rep. Jansen Owen, R-Poplarville
“Full-scale military assault now underway in Ukraine—the start to Putin’s invasion and what is likely to be the deadliest European armed conflict since the end of World War II. Pray for the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their homeland. And that democracy wins.”
Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, D-Northern District
“I had the honor of working with colleagues in Ukraine in 2019 on regulatory and energy policy issues as a part of the NARUC USAID collaboration. These ladies and gentlemen are fine public servants. They, along with their families, are in my thoughts and prayers.”