Russian invasion of Ukraine: What Ohio lawmakers are saying

Members of southwest Ohio’s congressional delegation on Thursday called for strong sanctions against Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said sanctions can and should undermine Russia’s ability to finance expanding and modernizing its military. He said the U.S. should also support Ukraine with weapons and intelligence, and bolster the security of nearby NATO allies.

“This is not a return to the Cold War. This is a hot war. Russia has actively invaded an independent democratic nation, and Putin has made it very clear that it is his intention to reassemble the geographic territory of the Soviet Union, placing at risk NATO allies and of course the United States,” Turner said in an interview Thursday.

Turner said U.S. troops should not be put in direct conflict with Russia unless Putin attacks American forces or a NATO ally.

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, was a lead author on a bipartisan letter signed by 43 members of Congress urging President Joe Biden to get congressional authorization before involving the U.S. military in the conflict.

Davidson said in an interview Thursday that the U.S. should not send troops into Ukraine but should strengthen the security of NATO allies like Poland.

“First and foremost, we need make sure that it stays contained to Ukraine, because Putin’s ambitions and the things he’s discontent about aren’t limited to Ukraine,” Davidson said. “How do we do that? I think we have to make this very expensive for him to have made this decision.”

Davidson supports sanctions, especially on energy, which is a major part of Russia’s economy. But he said making them work requires commitment from Germany to decrease reliance on Russian energy.

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, said Biden was hesitant to issue sanctions with enough teeth to deter the invasion.

“Now that Putin has acted, the president must follow through with the sanctions he outlined today, and seek further measures to isolate Putin and his cronies,” Chabot said Thursday. “Those additional measures should start with sanctioning Putin himself, and must impose the harshest consequences for Russia’s illegal and murderous invasion.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement he will work with Biden to implement “the strongest sanctions Russia has ever seen.”

“Now is not the moment for partisan division — Americans stand united with all our NATO allies, and we pray for the people of Ukraine,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, pushed for sanctions before the invasion and issued a statement Thursday calling on Biden to impose sanctions against Russian banks and leaders, and strong export controls to limit Russia’s access to technology — particularly semiconductors that are vital to Russia’s economy and military.

Portman also called for Russia to be removed from the United Nations Security Council, and for Congress to increase U.S. defense spending and pass bills designed to protect the U.S. and its allies from cyber warfare.

“We stand with the people of Ukraine, who have sought a democratic and independent future — free from tyranny. This dream is now under attack by a brutal dictator who seeks to remake Europe and disrupt the international order that has kept the peace since World War II,” Portman said.

Lawmakers say the invasion and sanctions will likely impact Ohio through things like gas prices as they disrupt worldwide energy and financial markets.

Davidson said this underlines the need for the U.S. to become more energy independent, and learn from past mistakes that emboldened Putin. But most immediately, he said we need to: “Pray for safety for the people of Ukraine. Unfortunately they are no longer in a position to be able to avoid war. They need to win.”

About the Author