Alaska delegation condemns Putin’s aggression; senators say Biden could do more

President Biden speaks to foreign leaders from the White House this week. (White House via Twitter)

Alaska’s congressional delegation has condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and called out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. 

In emailed statements Thursday morning, none of the three Republicans criticized President Biden.

Congressman Don Young called Putin “an authoritarian thug.”

“America doesn’t back down from dictators, and we won’t start now,” his news release said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan said Putin is driven by historical grievances and paranoid about neighboring democracies.

He did not grant an interview request, but Thursday afternoon, in a videotaped statement, Sullivan did find fault with Biden.

“The president of the United States said his administration is doing everything they can to help with energy independence and make sure energy prices aren’t skyrocketing because of this crisis. That’s not true,” Sullivan’s statement said. “Mr. President, you need to do much more. You need to get your boot off the neck of American energy producers.”

Sullivan said the administration should proceed with development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and elsewhere.

Opponents of drilling in the Arctic refuge say production would be years away and would not serve to counter the current price spike.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she supports the sanctions the president announced and thinks they will make a difference.

“What Putin has done needs to be condemned in the strongest, harshest possible terms,” she said in an interview. “There needs to be punishment. There needs to be accountability.”

She said, though, that Biden could go further, with sanctions focused more on Russia’s energy sector.

“If you really want to get Putin where it hurts, you need to go after the the energy assets, and this administration has chosen not to, and that means that they’re not utilizing every tool that we have at our disposal,” she said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, in a message on Twitter Thursday morning, said he differs with President Biden on domestic energy production but “today we stand as a unified nation against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and attack on democracy.”

In the afternoon, Dunleavy make the case for Alaska energy development more explicit.

“In the energy security implications of this invasion, Alaska’s resources are an advantage to our national security,” he said in a news release.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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