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Inside the Beltway

Washington politics and government with a New Mexico flavor

New Mexico’s congressional delegation condemns Russia’s actions in Ukraine

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New Mexico’s congressional delegation is joining other members of Congress and leaders throughout the Western Hemisphere to condemn Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and call for possible sanctions and other maneuvers against Russia as retribution.

The statements came as the European Union was preparing a $15 billion aid package to Ukraine.

Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the international community needs to send a “strong message.”

“The United States, the European Union, and NATO need to send a strong message to Russia that violations of Ukrainian sovereignty are not acceptable,” Udall said. “Diplomatic and economic options to isolate Russia for its aggressive actions in Crimea are certainly on the table. Our goal should be a negotiated settlement that preserves Ukrainian sovereignty and results in Russia ending its occupation of Ukrainian territory. I urge Ukraine to move ahead quickly with presidential elections and continue its transition to democratic stability. I support the proposed U.S. loan guarantee and hope that the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund can work quickly to negotiate a broader economic package to help address Ukraine’s underlying economic problems.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior is disturbing.

“Russian aggression in the Crimean peninsula is consistent with a pattern of behavior from President Putin that is at odds with the international community,” Heinrich said. “I am deeply concerned by President Putin’s disregard for the sovereignty of Ukraine, and I fully support efforts to isolate Russia economically and diplomatically through sanctions, potential expulsion from the G8, and other measures.  Russia must act responsibly if it wishes to continue participating in international forums and Russia’s recent actions are neither responsible nor constructive. I will continue to support working with our European partners and our NATO allies to demonstrate our support of a Ukrainian future that is decided by Ukrainian citizens and not outside forces.”

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., called the crisis in Ukraine “incredibly alarming.”

“We must engage in aggressive diplomacy while keeping all available sanctions on the table,” Lujan Grisham said. “I’m hopeful the continued American and European engagement will allow the political process, as outlined in the constitution of Ukraine to unfold. I’m also pleased that Secretary Kerry traveled to Kiev, and we are working closely with our European partners to peacefully resolve this situation.”

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., said isolating Russia economically should be considered.

 “I am gravely concerned by Russia’s aggression in the Crimean peninsula that violates the sovereignty of Ukraine,” he said. “The people of Ukraine should be allowed to chart their own path forward through free and fair elections without the threat of force from Russia.  We need to work with our European allies to condemn Putin’s actions and consider sanctions that will isolate Russia from the global community.”

Rep. Steve Pearce encouraged decisive U.S. action.

“Russia’s blatant aggression cannot go unchecked,” he said. “The US and the EU should impose strict economic and diplomatic sanctions to hold Russia accountable.”

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Russian soldiers guard a peer where two Ukrainian naval vessels are moored, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Ukraine's new prime minister said Wednesday that embattled Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers. Since last weekend, Russian troops have taken control of much of the peninsula in the Black Sea, where Russian speakers are in the majority. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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