A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged President Joe Biden on Tuesday to seek authorization from Congress before deploying U.S. troops to Ukraine.
Forty-three members of Congress penned a letter to Biden amid escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions. Fears of a Moscow-led invasion continue to grow after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two of Ukraine’s separatist regions as independent entities.
Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic are two Kremlin-backed enclaves that have accused Ukrainian armed forces of shelling and flaring tensions—claims that Ukraine has unequivocally denied.
The lawmakers, led by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and Warren Davidson, (R-Ohio), acknowledged that Biden previously said he would not involve U.S. armed forces in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Should there be a change in circumstances, “Congress stands ready to deliberate over the potentially monumental implications of such scenarios,” the lawmakers said.
“If the ongoing situation compels you to introduce the brave men and women of our military into Ukraine, their lives would inherently be put at risk if Russia chooses to invade,” the letter reads. “Therefore, we ask that your decisions comport with the Constitution and our nation’s laws by consulting with Congress to receive authorization before any such development.”
I’m urging Pres Biden to follow the Constitution and the law and receive authorization from Congress before involving US forces in Russia-Ukraine conflict. The American people deserve to have a say before we become involved in yet another foreign conflict.👇 pic.twitter.com/0RJKEi1k9u
— Rep Peter DeFazio (@RepPeterDeFazio) February 22, 2022
Sharing the letter on Twitter, DeFazio called on Biden to “follow the Constitution and the law and receive authorization from Congress before involving US forces in Russia-Ukraine conflict.”
“The American people deserve to have a say before we become involved in yet another foreign conflict,” DeFazio wrote.
Biden in December said that deploying troops into Ukraine “is not on the table.”
“It would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well,” Biden said at the time. “But the idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not … in the cards right now.”
In an interview with NBC News this month, Biden said no scenario would prompt him to put U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine, including rescuing American citizens.
“There’s not. That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another,” Biden said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN on Jan. 25 that the alliance will not be deploying combat troops to the country.
“NATO will not deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “But we need to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about our readiness, our commitment to protect and defend all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance.”
Biden on Tuesday took action against Russia for ordering troops into Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk for so-called “peacekeeping” operations.
He told reporters at the White House that the United States would impose sanctions against two large Russian financial institutions and Russian sovereign debt. Biden administration officials said Russian elites and their family members were also sanctioned.
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Biden said. “Russia has now undeniably moved against Ukraine by declaring these independent states.”
“As Russia contemplates its next move, we have our next move prepared as well,” Biden added. “Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions.”