Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin is taking steps to back Ukraine amid the country being invaded by Russian forces, calling President Vladimir Putin’s actions “senseless.”
The governor has ordered the Department of General Services, an agency that manages statewide procurement services, to “immediately review” any government contracts to understand if taxpayer money is being used on goods and services from Russian companies.
“The invasion of Ukraine by Soviet dictator Vladimir Putin cannot stand, and the people of the Commonwealth are ready to rally in opposition to this senseless attack on a sovereign nation and western ideals,” said Youngkin. “Today, we are acting to show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country. And while these are important steps, it is incumbent upon President Biden to take a stronger, more decisive leadership position to end this war.”
Youngkin is also urging the Virginia Retirement System Board of Trustees and university endowment funds to divest “any and all” Russian currency holdings — as well as Russian company securities. He is also calling on the City of Norfolk and the City of Roanoke to cease “sister city” relationships with cities in Russia. According to The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce, Norfolk is listed as partnered with Kaliningrad and Roanoke with Pskov.
Since 1992, for instance, Roanoke has provided Pskov with “medical supplies and equipment for hospitals, orphanages and hospice.” In terms of Norfolk, it has provided Kaliningrad with “coordination of shipments of medical supplies” and had exchanges with the Russian city for public school teachers and university professors. Norfolk’s group has held adult delegation trips to Kaliningrad and exchanged medical professionals and physicians with the city.
The Republican governor also issued a statement Thursday calling “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine” an “unprovoked attack [that] undermines democracy worldwide.” Other red-state governors have been vocal in recent days in attempts to hold Russia accountable. Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged retailers to remove all Russian products off their shelves on Saturday, but received blowback from people arguing such a move would only hurt U.S. businesses — since the items were already paid for.
On Friday, Russia threatened two addition European Union nations, saying that them joining NATO will result in “serious military and political repercussions,” The Daily Wire reported. The declaration comes amid Finland and Sweden seeking to oppose Russian aggression.
There were large explosions in Ukraine early Saturday from missile attacks. Ukraine has called on its citizens to defend the country and make molotov cocktails to “burn and destroy” Russian forces.
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has not left the capital of Kyiv, said in a recent statement. “We will lift sanctions on all citizens of Ukraine who are ready to defend our country as part of territorial defense with weapons in hands.”
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