HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it's intended to protect civilians.
According to The Associated Press, reports of missile strikes were heard in several cities in Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden said Russia is responsible for the death and destruction from this attack.
"The United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way," Biden said. "The world will hold Russia accountable."
Additionally, a number of politicians representing Virginia responded to the attack Wednesday night. You can read their responses below.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin:
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an assault on a sovereign nation and will have devastating consequences for Ukrainian citizens. This senseless, unprovoked attack undermines democracy worldwide and we must hold Russia accountable. And we pray for the Ukrainian people and for peace.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
America’s commitment to Ukraine is absolute and has the steadfast, bipartisan support of Congress. Make no mistake: Russia’s aggression will continue to have significant consequences, including through additional crippling economic sanctions.
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-4th Congressional District):
President Vladimir Putin’s unilateral, unjustifiable military assault on Ukraine marks the end of an unprecedented period of peace in Europe and the start of a premeditated, destabilizing conflict. This attack on Ukraine’s democratic sovereignty will lead to an unnecessary and tragic loss of life.
The United States and our NATO allies must meet this flagrant violation of international law with a unified, swift response. President Biden has already implemented an initial tranche of economic sanctions against Russia, and we must now confront these escalated aggressions with more severe punishments. Russia will ultimately pay a steep price for these attacks, isolated and cut off from the global economy.
Russia is solely responsible for the death and destruction this invasion will cause. These attacks are a gross violation of international norms and an assault on democracy everywhere. The United States, along with our international partners and allies, stand with Ukraine and condemn this senseless aggression. I pray for the safety of the innocent civilians who now find themselves in harm's way and for our brave servicemembers as they defend American interests abroad. My thoughts are with their families during this difficult time.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th Congressional District):
President Vladimir Putin has decided to jump off the precipice and start a war of choice. I condemn his actions and those of his regime in the strongest terms, and reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine, its sovereignty, and its right to self-defense and self-determination.
We stand by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of this naked aggression. We will hold the Russian regime accountable for the death, suffering and crimes it commits.
There is no justification for Russia’s aggression other than a desire to gain control over Ukraine and crush Ukraine’s democracy and European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
The war it has started contravenes the most basic principles underlying the international order since the end of World War II – principles which Moscow has freely signed on to. It threatens Euro-Atlantic security.
Russia must immediately cease all combat and hybrid operations against Ukraine.
The world must stand united. Allies and all responsible nations and institutions must now implement the comprehensive package of massive, crippling and sustained sanctions and consequences.
I fully support the decisions the Alliance has taken to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence, defence and reassurance posture, and Allies must now prepare to reinforce this posture as the situation dictates.
Our nations are ready to defend every corner of NATO territory.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
“For more than 70 years, we have avoided large-scale war in Europe. With his illegal invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has tragically brought decades of general peace to an end. Now the U.S. and our NATO allies must stand united and resolute against Putin’s efforts to renew the Russian empire at the expense of the Ukrainian people.
“President Biden has already imposed an initial tranche of sanctions, and it is now time for us to up the pain level for the Russian government. We should also continue to bolster the defenses of our NATO allies while exploring how we can further help the Ukrainian people in their time of need.
“While there is still an opportunity for Russia to reverse course, we can no longer hold out hope that this standoff will be resolved peacefully. Therefore, we must all, on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic, work together to demonstrate to Putin that this aggression will not be allowed to go unpunished.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy not only for Ukraine, but for the Russian people as well. They will pay a steep cost for Putin’s reckless ambition, in blood and in economic harm.”
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-2nd Congressional District):
“Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and its continued aggression must be met with swift, unprecedented, and devastating consequences from the United States and our international partners.
“The United States and our Allies stand firmly with Ukraine. As the situation develops, both parties must come together to support the Ukrainian people in the face of this Russian incursion.”
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th Congressional District):
We must be united in condemning Putin’s war, an act of aggression that serves only the irrational self-interest of one man. In the hours and days ahead, he must feel the sting of unprecedented sanctions from the United States and our partners around the world.
Kremlin officials, Russia’s globe-travelling oligarchs, & Duma Members must also be held accountable for this reckless push to reestablish the borders of the Soviet Union. They should be powerfully confronted for their decision to inflict pain on the people of Ukraine.
Earlier, President Zelensky spoke on the right for Ukraine to determine its own future — that the Ukrainian people are free. His words embodied the strength, courage, & resolve of a proud people. We pray for them, and we remain committed to supporting their independence.
Tonight, we stand with the people of Ukraine, we stand with our NATO allies, and we stand for America’s values of freedom, peace, and democracy.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-10th Congressional District)
My heart is with the Ukrainian people as they endure senseless violence from Putin's unprovoked & unjustified attack.
The consequences must be swift and severe to hold Putin and his oligarchs accountable. The U.S. & our allies must stand with Ukraine and stand up for democracy.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd Congressional District):
“Today, President Biden made clear that the United States, along with the rest of the G7, our NATO partners and other allies, will make sure Russia pays a steep economic price through another set of devastating sanctions. Just earlier today, the Russian stock market took a massive plunge and the ruble has already hit a record low. We must remain steadfast in our support of Ukraine and remain resolved to ensure Russia is isolated from the world and economically and diplomatically weakened if it continues down this destructive path in violation of international law.”
This story will continue to be updated as more local politicians react to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.