U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had launched a military operation invading Ukraine.
“Russia today is not only attacking Ukraine, it is attacking the very foundations of the international order,” Merkley said. “Those laws and norms were put in place after World War II to prevent the world from once again facing the devastation of global conflict, to prevent maps from being redrawn by force, and to prevent civilians from suffering at the hands of brutal dictators. War inflicts unspeakable tragedies and suffering, destroying lives, homes and businesses, wealth, and the environment. This reckless military campaign by Russia will be no different.”
Merkley earned a graduate degree in public policy at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office.
He also served as president of the World Affairs Council in Portland before entering the Oregon House of Representatives in 1998. He became Speaker of the House in 2007, prior to serving in Congress.
“I join in unity with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with the administration in urging Russia to end this illegal incursion,” Merkley said. “And I stand ready to exact the most punishing economic costs on Moscow and its leadership that have ever been brought to bear, in concert with our allies. At the same time, we must do all we can to support the Ukrainian people, particularly those who are forced to flee their homes. Innocent civilians should not be trapped in the crosshairs. Russia will continue to pay for its aggression.”
Later on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, toed a careful line, slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin, backing President Biden’s sanctions, but opposing any intervention by U.S. military troops.
“I share President Biden’s opposition to the deployment of American troops inside Ukraine and I applaud him for working with our allies to impose sanctions,” Blumenauer said. “The United States must use every tool at our disposal, short of armed conflict, to protect Ukraine’s independence, including more severe economic sanctions and ending normal trading relationships. Putin and his cronies should not be insulated from the consequences of their actions.”