Amid ‘unjustified war,’ U.S. strengthens penalties for Russia, Putin

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Daily News and News Monitor continue to follow the evolving Russia-Ukraine conflict. Here is some of the latest information as of Friday, Feb. 25.

The United States planned to impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin before Friday concluded, CNN reported. Putin was poised to be “the highest-profile target” in a campaign of affecting the Russian economy and Putin’s own inner circle in response to the Ukrainian invasion.

“The Biden administration on Thursday announced sweeping sanctions targeting Russia, enacting penalties across industries, including asset freezes for the largest banks, debt and equity restrictions on critical mining, transportation and logistics firms and a large-scale effort to shut down access to critical technology for key Russian military and industrial sectors,” Phil Mattingly and Jeremy Herb reported.

Kyiv, Ukraine, the country’s capital, is eight hours ahead of the Twin Towns area. Friday included escalation in a battle for control of Kyiv. U.S. warnings stated that Russia was seeking to encircle the city, which at least one Ukrainian official said had been hit by missiles.

“Russia’s assault on Ukraine began Thursday and quickly spread across the country as Russian forces attacked from three sides by land, sea and air,” CNN reported.

Putin’s basic goals, outlets including CNN stated, include disarming Ukraine, severing its ties to the NATO military alliance and ending the Ukrainian people’s aspirations of joining the West.

U.S. legislators representing North Dakota and Minnesota weighed in on the Ukrainian invasion when it began.

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democratic nation, is an affront to freedom and democracy around the world,” said Sen. Tina Smith, DFL-Minn. “Putin’s decision to launch this unjustified war will cause catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia must be held accountable for this blatant and illegal aggression, and I will continue to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country. I commend the Biden administration for leading a unified front with our NATO allies to impose swift and severe sanctions that will dramatically weaken Russia’s economic and strategic positions.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., called the unprovoked attack on Ukrainians “a warning to all of Europe.”

“The United States must work closely with our allies to oppose Putin’s efforts to subvert European peace and security. We must ensure Putin pays a heavy price not only as a response to his aggression in Ukraine but also as a deterrent against future aggression in Eastern Europe. We need to support the people of Ukraine, reinforce our allies, and immediately implement severe sanctions on Russia. We pray for the people of Ukraine in this tragic moment,” Hoeven said.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee and bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus. He called out Putin’s “fantasies of reuniting the Soviet Union.”

“He has absolutely no right to invade Ukraine’s sovereign borders and impose Russia’s will on the freedom-loving people of Ukraine. The United States fiercely condemns this violent action and stands strongly in support of Ukraine,” Cramer said. “We needed sanctions months ago to ward off exactly this type of action. Now that Putin has taken these steps we must implement strong, primary and secondary sanctions immediately. Our response here is greater than Russia and Ukraine; what we choose to do will also send a message to China on Taiwan.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, in an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition,” said it is important to have international coordination and strong sanctions.

“The fact that the world has come out so strongly, I don’t think Putin anticipated that,” Klobuchar said. “What you’re seeing now is a coordinated response which is going to hit him economically. This is a stronger world that has said enough is enough. And we simply cannot allow Putin to invade democracies around the world like this.”

Russia violating Ukraine’s sovereignty is unjust and unacceptable, Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., said before criticizing President Biden.

“We are dealing with a culmination of this administration’s failed economic policy, energy policy, and foreign policy. It is past time for the United States to reassert its leadership,” Fischbach said.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., asked for the public to pray for Ukrainians.

“They want peace. Putin has chosen war. America and our allies must stand strong in support of Ukraine. They deserve freedom,” Armstrong said.

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