U.S. lawmakers blast Russia over invasion of Ukraine, urge stronger sanctions

Firefighters respond to a bombing in Ukraine.
Ukrainian firefighters respond to a building that was hit by a bomb. U.S. lawmakers decried Russia’s invasion and urged the Biden administration to impose tougher sanctions on Moscow.
(Aris Messinis / AFP/Getty Images)

Decrying Russia’s attack on Ukraine, U.S. lawmakers in a rare show of bipartisan unity urged the Biden administration to impose tougher sanctions on Moscow in the hopes of convincing it to halt its invasion. President Biden is expected to announce a tougher tranche of sanctions Thursday afternoon.

Here are lawmakers’ real-time reactions to the crisis:

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) tweeted just after midnight Thursday that he had just spoken with Ukrainian Consul General Kushneruk “to reaffirm our support for the people of Ukraine.”


“We stand with them and support President Biden and our allies in enacting severe sanctions against Putin for his unprovoked and dangerous attack on an important democratic ally,” Padilla added.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) called the the attack “senseless, tragic, and barbaric.” “We must enact debilitating sanctions on Russia and cut them off from the global economy,” Schiff said in a tweet.

Schiff, who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, urged the Biden administration to go further, “fully cutting off Russia’s leading financial institutions from the global economy and ending Europe’s dependence on Russian oil for good.“

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) emphasized the need for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, tweeting: “The United States must stand steadfast against Russian authoritarianism and unprovoked aggression. Together with partners and allies, we must support Ukraine, hold Russia accountable, and be prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. I will work with colleagues in Congress and with the administration to respond swiftly.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also called for stiffer sanctions on Moscow. (The Biden administration began imposing sanctions on Tuesday, with more expected to be enacted against Moscow on Thursday). “It is now time for us to up the pain level for the Russian government,” Warner said.

On the Republican side, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), criticized the U.S. for doing too little in the past. “Putin’s impunity predictably follows our tepid response to his previous horrors,” he said in a statement. The senator called on the U.S. and allies to subject “Putin and Russia to the harshest economic penalties.”


Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Palmdale) slammed what he described as Biden’s “weakness” in dealing with Putin. “This new war started by Putin is a product of the Biden administration not creating a stronger deterrence and failing to demonstrate to the world that the United States and our allies are to be respected,” he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted that it was “imperative that we continue to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons as well as good intelligence. The world needs to condemn Putin’s destruction of a neighboring democracy as a war crime.”