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Congressional delegation and Ukrainians in Connecticut watch the Russia invasion unfold

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.)
Charles Dharapak

Members of Congress from Connecticut have condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and warn constituents to brace for higher energy prices.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House Committee on Intelligence, said the Russian invasion is a violation of international law. Himes supports U.S. and Western sanctions against President Vladimir Putin and Russia — even though such measures would cause pain here.

“We are going to see it at the gas pump. And we are going to see, Russia does produce some of the world’s wheat, so we will see some upward price pressure on the things that we buy every day. That will not feel good," Himes said. "But we are not on the receiving end of Russian artillery.”

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, called the Russian attack unwarranted and malicious. She said members of her committee are monitoring the situation and are prepared to appropriate aid to Ukraine and other U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe as they confront this crisis.

"You don’t make war against a sovereign nation. Ukraine is a sovereign nation," DeLauro said. "And it is an attack on democracy and a grave violation of international law. And they need to know we are standing with them."

Watching from afar

Ukrainian citizens in Connecticut are monitoring the Russian military invasion unfolding in their country.

Volodymyr Gupan, who is a PhD candidate at UConn and teaches political science, said despite months of buildup, Russia’s invasion surprised him and his family back in Ukraine, who are caught up in the conflict.

“Most of my family are there and it is err, it is a horrible feeling is well I can’t do much but I can only observe," Gupan said. "Observe and wait to see what happens and pray for the Ukrainian military.”

Gupan said Russia and Ukraine’s relationship has been rocky for the last 300 year. He says Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine heightened when the country declared independence from Russia in 1991.

The most disturbing news, he said, was the Russian occupation of Chernobyl, where a nuclear power disaster in 1986 occurred while the country was still under Soviet rule.

“The idea they might damage the sarcophagus that covers Chernobyl is just unconscionable, because that’s going to create an ecological catastrophe in Ukraine, in Russia, in Belarus in the whole of Europe,” Gupan said.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.