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CT residents, delegation and Rilling respond to Russian invasion in Ukraine

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (Wikimedia)

Ukrainian Americans living in Connecticut are anxiously watching after the Russian military invaded Ukraine early Thursday, while the Connecticut congressional delegation came out hard denouncing the invasion.

Myron Melnyk, who lives in New Haven, said he spoke to his cousin in Ukraine Thursday morning. Melnyk said his cousin lives in a rural area in the west of the country, so he’s not too concerned for him right now, but the future does not feel so hopeful.

Melnyk said he and his cousin believe Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to take control of Ukraine. “His feeling is the same as mine — Putin will not stop until he topples this government, until he puts in his own puppet government,” Melnyk said. “That one person should look to overcome the will of a nation that voted overwhelmingly for independence.”

Freida Hecht, Director of Education & Outreach at Beth Israel of Westport/Norwalk, also has an eyewitness report from cousins, who she said are in Ukraine as missionaries.

“Early this morning they heard noise of explosions in their city,” Hecht wrote on Facebook. “Schools are closed and only food and medical supply stores are open.”

A reTweet from State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25).

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling indicated he’s thinking of Ukrainian Norwalkers and the state of the world.

“Russia’s attack on the Ukraine is a despicable act of war and is totally unprovoked,” Rilling said. “Despite promises by Putin and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., that there were no plans to attack, they did just that. The NATO allies must implement immediate and severe sanctions that will affect the Russian economy to send a strong statement we are aligned with the Ukrainian people. My office stands ready to communicate with our Federal Delegates to provide support to our Ukrainian community in gathering updates on relatives in the war zone.”

CT delegation decries invasion

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal expressed support for Ukrainians while condemning Putin.

“Putin’s decision to invade is an evil, panicked move of weakness and will be his defining mistake. The Ukrainian people will fight for as long as it takes to secure their nation from this foreign tyrant, and the United States will stand with them,” Murphy said in a tweet late Wednesday.

Murphy is on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Blumenthal called for further sanctions against Russia and expressed U.S. support for those living in the Ukraine.

“Costs & consequences must be swift, severe, & strong meeting Putin’s attack on the post-WWII world order. It is far past time to fully sanction Russia, Putin, & his oligarchs,” Blumenthal tweeted Thursday morning.

Connecticut’s delegation in the U.S. House had a similar reaction.

24 comments

John O'Neill February 25, 2022 at 9:01 am

When I think about the Ukraine situation, I think about how some Americans complain about the United States and laugh at their ignorance.

Piberman February 25, 2022 at 11:30 am

The best our Congressional representatives can do is issue statements of “concern” as the Russians invade Ukraine after telegraphing intentions for an entire month assembling a huge invasion force on Ukraine borders. How utterly embarrassing. Civilians dying in large numbers. We’re seeing a repeat of the horrific German invasion of Europe 80 yrs ago and the best our leaders can do is issue ‘sanctions”. Too much trouble to parachute large supply of weapons to the Ukrainians ?

Our forebears in CT built the submarines that wiped the Japanese Navy off the oceans. They built the engines that powered the Allied aircraft. Bridgeport’s brass mills were the arsenal of Democracy shipping huge supplies of weapons to Europe.

Our Congressional representatives need gather some backbone and offer more than mere “sanctions”. Demand our President ship large quantities of weapons to the desperate Ukranians.

Alex Kemeny February 25, 2022 at 11:53 am

Don’t be naive and think this won’t effect Americans here at home. We must plan for the future and be energy self-sufficient or be hostage for energy like Europe is. Does the average American understand that Germany and most of Europe depends on Russian oil to keep their lights and heat on? When Russia chooses to shut of their supply, they will be plunged in darkness!
We WERE self-sufficient and energy independent 2 years ago but the President decided to sanction America by shutting off the Keystone Pipeline (research that if you don’t know what it is) and return our dependence on oil from the Middle East AND Russia itself!!! We are dependent on outside influence to sustain our country. Ask yourself. Why was this done? Why did the President eliminate 12,000 jobs and thousands of jobs that supported the building of the pipeline on his FIRST day in office? and in doing so, made us energy dependent on the rest of the world? Do you think I’m off topic? No. There will be a domino effect and we better be prepared. We are not. Write our Congressmen to support energy independence for our country.

Alex Kemeny February 25, 2022 at 11:57 am

FYI. Russian oil is the 3rd largest supplier of our energy in the United States. Don’t you think that will impact us?

Alex Kemeny February 25, 2022 at 12:37 pm

If you think I’m being insensitive to the world situation, please think on this. When you travel on an airplane and they give instructions on surviving a crash. They say first you must put on your own oxygen mask before you help your neighbor.We will not be in a position to help any neighbors (Europe), unless we can sustain our own survival. Those who believe in green energy, don’t think that when China or Russia takes control of the United States they will give one hoot about green energy. The Woke people need to Awake!Stop fooling yourself and manipulating people into believing your naive opinions.

Steve Mann February 25, 2022 at 2:06 pm

Support without suggestions is useless. You can send all the hopes and prayers you want but without a solution they’re worthless. Open Keystone XL, restart fracking and crush the Bear where it hurts. It’s always about money. Starve the Russian people and they’ll take up the fight for Ukraine. Enough politics. Lives are at stake. Ours.

Piberman February 25, 2022 at 2:44 pm

We’re in a “defining moment” recalling the Germans’ invasion of Poland. China remains quiet tacitly approving Russia’s power grab of the Ukraine. European NATO members are making appropriate noises but like the US are not delivering major weapon supplies to the besieged Ukrainians. And the best the President and Congress can do is issue sanctions when weapons are desperately needed. Our CT Congressmen heartily endorse “sanctions” as the appropriate response to helping the Ukrainians.

Lets not forget the Biden Administration is pushing our European partners hard to support re-establishing the Iran Deal which expires in 2 1/2 years by which time Iran will have deployable nuclear weapons. With Russia moving closer to Iran and China together with NATO fumbling we’re in an increasingly precarious position. Only this time the major protagonists – US, Russia, China, NATO – each have major stores of nuclear weapons.

Just maybe there are more important issues for the US to consider than “going green”. What countries will Russia gobble up next ? When will China control Taiwan ? When will a nuclear Iran rule the mid-east ? In the 1930’s the US looked the other way and it seems with “sanctions” we’re doing the same policy with Russia. Armed with nuclear weapons the results could be beyond catastrophic.

Why isn’t the President encouraging expansion of US oil production and prohibiting importation of oil from Russia – our no.3 supplier ? Have imposing sanctions ever stopped a War ?

Responding with “sanctions” is akin to raising the “white flag of surrender”.

Piberman February 25, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Where are the voices of CT residents who stand behind our CT Congressional delegation suggesting “sanctions” are the appropriate response to aiding the hard pressed Ukrainians being invaded by the Russians ?

Do CT Republicans also support “sanctions” as the appropriate response ?

Or is everyone just focused on higher prices at the gas pump ?

Isn’t there any elected CT leader anywhere who publicly calls for doing more than offering feeble sanctions ?

Peter Franz February 25, 2022 at 3:58 pm

It’s not polite to say ignorant, but there’s a host of poorly informed information here.

The US is not and never has been “energy independent”. The confusion lies in that people misinterpret the fact that the US energy production rose to match our consumption. However energy companies are free to sell this energy on the international marketplace, and they choose to do so, exporting much of the oil. So we’ve always imported oil. Also, this mislabeled “energy independence” event happened under Obama first. Perhaps our fellow commentator was thinking of nationalizing the oil companies ala Venezuela so we keep it all?

Next Keystone. Keystone was cancelled on day one of Biden’s presidency because the American people wanted it shut down. The man literally ran on this campaign promise and won and delivered. Additionally (and to be honest, humorously since you have to be fantastically naive to think otherwise) Keystone has nothing to do with our “energy independence” since it’s coming from Canada.

Slightly less significantly: there were NEVER going to be 12,000 jobs created in the US over this project, AND it’s probably a good time to remind everyone there are ALREADY more jobs in the USA in the renewables field than in fossil fuels.

For the EU “going dark” that’s also destructively negative thinking. The fact is the EU is behaving the way the US used to behave: with courage. Yes, there will be pain in the EU energy markets, and consumers are already facing stiffer pricing, which will likely go higher still. But they are willingly doing so because they know what is at stake. They are surely shocked by the outrageous behavior of Russia, but they are not shying away from their duty. Gazprom Nord 2: dead. Stiff penalties and sanctions that will hurt EU consumers as well as Russian companies: done.

It used to be the US had a backbone, but the comments here, and the absolutely shocking comments on our removed-from-office Trump PRAISING the mass murderer Putin are truly sickening.

The panic-fueled “we’re being taken over by China and Russia” is nonsense, and frankly cowardly. The US will be fine, and we will use our power and our love of freedom and democracy to help Ukraine sustain, no matter how long it takes.

News Flash February 25, 2022 at 9:28 pm

The United States is the largest oil producer in the world (why don’t you look that up), to say that the Keystone XL pipeline was some magic pill for lower gas prices is hysterical.

The purpose of the pipeline was to sell tar sand oil on the global market, not to use in the US. Not to mention the environmental impacts far outweigh the economic benefits.

The amount of fake news in these comments sections is alarming, it’s easy to see why we’re so divided.

Alex Kemeny February 26, 2022 at 10:19 am

Actions speak louder than words. Is the world a better place now than 2 years ago? Is our country and the world safer now than 3 years ago? Look at Both sides of an issue. You decide.

Steve Mann February 26, 2022 at 10:31 am

For some, naivete is the mother of invention. The myopia resultant of one’s strong leanings sometimes prevents the outcome of an objective conclusion.

The United States became net exporters of oil in 2019. That’s a fact. That indisputably is defined as “energy independence”. At the very least, we achieved North American energy independence. And this is not in praise of Trump, inasmuch as we saw the same thing happen in 2011.

We buy almost 600k barrels each day from Russia, which has now been recognized as our chief geopolitical foe, led by a war-mongering, power hungry pariah. The Keystone pipeline provides us with around 825k barrels each day. So, while it makes sense to some to be at the mercy of a war-mongering pariah, to me, it’s pretty simple. This is absolute lunacy. We are now being led by a puppet who is beholden to political promises which run counter to the needs of his people.

While it’s accurate to say that the pipeline was shut down because “Americans wanted it” to be, is true, it would be helpful for a commenter to quantify how many Americans wanted that to happen. Anything less than an objective answer lacks any integrity. Are there two, twenty, or two hundred million? And I might add, sometimes the sentiment of the people is not what’s best for the union. While we’re debating personal pronouns, and reparations, and ridiculously enduring the wrath of school boards, our foes laugh and take advantage of our weakness.

Get serious or get out the way. Trump praised Putin for his strategic ability, not his moral judgement. If one wants puppies and balloons and pretty sunsets, that’s fine. Just don’t wander into the arena of anything that matters these days.

Piberman February 26, 2022 at 11:31 am

Readers seeking reporting on the Ukraine crisis ought first read Pravada’s english language account followed by BBC’s very extensive coverage and then Reuters. Most of the major western newspaper opinion articles fault US and NATO leaders for not reading the tea leaves as Putin telegraphed in advance his intentions. Most opinion article writers see few prospects for short term resolution owing to Europe’s dependence on Russia’s oil/gas exports and lack of US/European leadership. Eventually Putin’s gambit will be successful – isolating Ukraine from the west.

China’s reluctance to criticize Putin’s actions provides more evidence that the US and Europe faces the most powerful set of adversaries since the end of WWII. Whether US/European leadership is up to the task is questionable. Neither Afghanistan nor Ukraine are encouraging signs.

Piberman February 26, 2022 at 3:09 pm

European NATO nations are providing embattled Ukrainians with weapons.
Best Democratic President Biden and Congressional Democrats can do is offer “sanctions”. How embarrassing. Reminds us of the Afghanistan disaster. Why are Democrats not sending weapons ?

Whatever happened to the “land of the free and home of the brave” ? Leader of the free work offering “sanctions” to help defeat a major invasion ? Sad day for America.

Mitch Adis February 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm

Time to start pumping American oil into the market and drive the price down to nothing. This will bankrupt Russia!

John O'Neill February 28, 2022 at 3:32 pm

@ Peter Franz — Your Grammar is terrific, your facts not so much. Do a little more research and let us know what you find.

Piberman February 28, 2022 at 4:31 pm

Now that energy is back on the global stage will Gov Lamont review his interest in securing CT access to alternative energy sources, e.g. wind, solar and nuclear. Otherwise CT remains a very high energy cost state. One that continues to discourage major investment by large firms. For the foreseeable future CT remain a high cost primarily fossil fuel State. We ought do much better on securing non-fossil fuel access. That takes leadership at the highest levels in CT.

Lets hope the higher global energy costs discourage Gov Lamont from imposing even higher highway fuel costs on CT consumes and businesses.

Piberman February 28, 2022 at 9:41 pm

Canada suspended imports of Russian crude oil – 3rd largest import in the U.S.
CT’s Congressional delegation has remained pretty quiet on Ukraine. Maybe they could support the US follow Canada here. Would make a statement CT residents would endorse. .

Peter Franz March 1, 2022 at 8:25 am

@John O’Neill. LOL. My facts stand up to scrutiny actually. And, if you have something to actually say, please step up to the plate.

Piberman March 2, 2022 at 1:42 pm

Have CT’s Congressional delegation introduced any proposals to assist the hard pressed Ukrainians, end importation of Russian crude oil into the US, levy new tariffs on Russian goods/services, restrict exports to Russia, etc. ? Or just stand with their Party ?

Once upon a time our CT Congressmen “stood tall” and took the lead when nations were invaded by tyrants. Secured our admiration. Times certainly have changed.

Piberman March 2, 2022 at 8:28 pm

Can Nancy’s post a list of major aid agencies to assist Ukranian civilians especially those escaping to Poland’s borders ?

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