HELENA — Montana’s top elected leaders denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, calling it “outrageous” and “unprovoked.”
Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester each released statements Thursday morning, sharply criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions.
“I’m praying for the people of Ukraine and condemn Putin’s outrageous attack on their sovereignty and independence,” Daines said. “Putin is a thug, and he has been empowered and emboldened by Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and his approval of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline while killing America’s Keystone XL pipeline. The skyrocketing price of oil and resulting inflation are stark reminders of the importance of increasing, not decreasing, made in America energy. I do not support sending American troops to Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin single-handedly started an unprovoked war that makes the world less safe,” said Tester. “I stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with every freedom-loving democracy in condemning Russia’s illegal military actions. The United States will continue to support the security and stability of our NATO and European allies in the face of these acts of war.”
Gov. Greg Gianforte also condemned Russia's actions.
“Putin’s unprovoked invasion of the sovereign, democratic Ukraine is an egregious act of war," he said in a statement Thursday. "Montana stands with the freedom-loving people of Ukraine and continues to pray for their safety. The United States and our democratic allies should respond immediately with sweeping, strict, comprehensive sanctions against Russia.”
Montana's lone U.S. House member, Rep. Matt Rosendale, also issued a response to the invasion, with a different perspective.
"Now that Russia has begun their invasion of Ukraine, cries from war hawks on both sides of the aisle continue to grow louder to spill American blood and treasure in this conflict," he said. "We must resist these calls and put America first. The United States has no legal or moral obligation to come to the aid of either side in this foreign conflict. In talking to folks across Montana, they are much more concerned with stopping the invasion taking place in our country by millions of illegal aliens then they are the invasion of an Eastern European country halfway across the world. It is our obligation to secure our nation and put the American people first, not send our sons and daughters to die overseas in a conflict that does not serve our national interests."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with new statements from Gov. Gianforte and Rep. Rosendale.