A group of Ukrainian Americans gathered in Westwood Thursday to express outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Southland leaders condemned the aggression and called for the most severe sanctions possible.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, called the Russian attack “a dark time for the people of Ukraine and for our global peace and security.”

“The United States must stand steadfast against Russian authoritarianism and unprovoked aggression,” Porter said in a statement. “Together with partners and allies, we must support Ukraine, hold Russia accountable and be prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, called the invasion “an attack on the idea that countries are free to choose their own destiny, an attack on the rules-based order that has kept world peace since WWII. And most critically, an attack on democracy itself.”

Schiff called for the most severe sanctions possible against Russia in response to the military action, targeting its banks, financial markets and “oligarchs.”

“This is Putin’s war — senseless, tragic and barbaric,” Schiff said on his Twitter account. “We must enact debilitating sanctions on Russia and cut them off from the global economy. And, in the meantime, we pray for the Ukrainian people. An end to this madness.”

In Westwood, hundreds of people held a rally against the military assault. They waved Ukrainian flags, played the Ukrainian national anthem and held signs with slogans including “Help save my home” and “Stop Putin.”

Another rally of Ukrainian-Americans is expected in Studio City Thursday night.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an unprovoked attack with no justification, and it is incumbent on all nations to ensure that Putin and his government are met with severe consequences,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said in a statement. “Putin must understand that such aggression will not stand.

“The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO allies against any further Russian belligerence. The alliance is strong and united. And the U.S. government has done an excellent job collecting and disseminating intelligence on Russian plans to make clear that Russia intended this invasion all along and fabricated pretenses to launch it. I’m confident the intelligence community will continue this critical work.”

Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Huntington Beach, said, “I am praying for the people of Ukraine, our allies, and our nation. Vladimir Putin does not get to decide the borders of a free and sovereign country. As Americans, we are committed to defending freedom at home and abroad. It’s critical that we protect our NATO alliance and work together in support of Ukraine’s right to defend herself from this unchecked aggression and violence.”

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, said he was praying for the “innocent civilians and military personnel in harm’s way in Ukraine.” But he laid blame for the attack on the Biden administration’s failure to create “a stronger deterrence and failing to demonstrate to the world that the United States and our allies are to be respected.”

“The unlawful steps Russia is taking against Ukraine are only the beginning,” Garcia said in a statement. “China formally annexing and attacking Taiwan is the end state of all of these actions. Taiwan will be in the crosshairs of China if we do not start growing a backbone as a superpower. Until then, the US becomes more vulnerable every day this persists.”

Biden, speaking from the White House Thursday, laid full blame on the attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said as he outlined another series of economic sanctions.

The military action was already leading to economic consequences domestically, with the instability leading to sudden jumps in already high gas prices in the Southland and nationally. The average price of a gallon of gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area was $4.82 a gallon, according to the Auto Club of Southern California, a record-high amount that is up 4 cents from last week and $1.14 higher than a year ago.

“The escalation of tensions into all-out war has pushed up Brent Crude prices above $100 a barrel, and if that trend continues, we could see gas prices start going up more quickly,” Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe said. “Also, this week’s US Energy Information report indicates that West Coast gasoline supplies are at their lowest levels of 2022, which could also add to upward price pressure.”

Biden said he was aware of the impact on gas prices and said the county is prepared to release supplies from its oil reserves.

“I know this is hard and that Americans are already hurting,” he said. “I’ll do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.