NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today released the following statement after the Biden Administration denounced the beginning of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine:
“I strongly and unequivocally condemn Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. America needs to lead the world again with strength and resolve. With the White House now stating that the invasion has begun, I hope President Biden, as he has promised, moves immediately to respond with swift and severe economic consequences against Russia, including far-reaching primary and secondary sanctions, now that Putin has crossed Biden’s ‘red line.’ Russia, armed with formidable conventional forces and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, is undermining international peace and security, and potentially emboldens other authoritarian powers to follow its path. In particular, Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, with their sights set on Taiwan, are closely watching what happens.
“The invasion could have been deterred. But the road to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine was paved by months of concessions and lack of resolve from the Biden Administration and some European nations in the face of Putin’s growing aggression. From the day President Biden took office, he has handed Putin gift after gift. The Biden Administration made the decision to give Russia strategic space and roll back the Trump Administration’s pressure in the naïve hope that Putin would moderate his behavior. It extended the New START arms control treaty without any new conditions to constrain Russia’s rapidly modernizing nuclear arsenal. It failed to strongly and decisively respond to the hacking of America’s Colonial pipeline. It ended America’s Keystone XL Pipeline and drilling on federal lands, thereby helping to increase prices in energy markets and giving oil-and-gas-exporting Russia a windfall. It also refused to fully enforce bipartisan congressional sanctions that would have ended Putin’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Russia will wield as a geopolitical energy weapon against European nations for generations. And it emboldened authoritarian regimes around the world with the disastrous and incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan.”