Bernie Sanders calls for world to ‘defend democracy’ in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

‘This aggression is unacceptable and the nations of the world must respond vigorously,’ says Vermont senator

Richard Hall
Friday 25 February 2022 05:18 GMT
Bernie Sanders calls for world to ‘defend democracy’ against Russia

Bernie Sanders condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “an act of premeditated aggression” and called for a global response to defend the country from attack.

“This aggression is unacceptable and the nations of the world must respond vigorously to defend democracy and the rule of law,” the Vermont senator said in a video message posted on Thursday.

Mr Sanders added that the United States and its allies should impose “severe sanctions” on Russian president Vladimir Putin and his government.

“These moves should not only isolate the Russian economy, but should include freezing access to the billions of dollars that Putin and his oligarch cronies have stashed in European and American banks,” he added.

His comments followed a day of fierce airstrikes and attacks across Ukraine as Russian forces closed in on the capital Kiev.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a short video address posted shortly after midnight on Friday local time that Russian saboteurs had entered Kiev, and that 137 Ukrainians, military and civilian, had been killed so far.

In Russia, meanwhile, protesters took to the streets in several cities to express opposition to the war.

Mr Sanders praised those Russian protesters in his message, and the Ukrainian people for resisting Moscow’s attack.

“Even as the Ukrainian people are bravely resisting this aggression, anti-war protests have taken place in 40 different Russian cities and at least 1,000 Russian citizens have been arrested for opposing the war. Today I stand in solidarity with those brave people,” he said.

“In an authoritarian country like Russia, protest is an act of enormous courage,” he added.

Of Mr Putin, the senator said: “His day will come — hopefully sooner than later.”

President Joe Biden unveiled harsh new sanctions against Russia on Thursday and promised to turn Mr Putin into a “pariah”.

The new sanctions targeted Russia’s two largest financial institutions and limited the ability of 13 major Russian companies to raise financing in Western capital markets. The US is also banning the export of American technology to Russia.

“Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences. This is going to impose a severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” Mr Biden said.

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