President Biden to address the nation later this morning.

Overnight, the world watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin carried out an anticipated invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops have been positioning themselves along the Ukrainian border for weeks as world leaders, including President Joe Biden, have sought diplomatic means to deescalate the tensions rising in Eastern Europe.

In a speech ahead of the invasion, Russian President Putin threatened “consequences you have never faced in your history” for “anyone who tries to interfere” with their military operation in Ukraine.

Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) was recently in Ukraine meeting with top officials there. He also sits on the Helsinki Commission. That group issued the following statement Thursday morning following the Russian assault on its neighboring country:

“We are outraged that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has chosen to dramatically escalate his war against Ukraine.  These are not the actions of a powerful leader, but a despot seeking to deny Ukrainians the peace and freedom he has denied his own people.

“We demand Russia immediately cease its brutal and criminal invasion and adhere to the principles of the Helsinki Final Act.  We urge the entire world—including the people of Russia—to stand with the people of Ukraine in this moment of darkness.”

According to the most recent credible reports, Russian airstrikes are being launched across Ukraine, and military forces as well as Belarusian and rebel proxies are attacking Ukrainians across multiple fronts.

On Tuesday before the Thursday assault, Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) issued a statement on the Russian aggression, supporting sanctions against Putin but expressing concern over their effectiveness.

“The world has been cast into a very dangerous predicament with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which is a blatant violation of international law.  I am concerned that our adversaries, including China, sense weakness in the White House and disarray in the administration, and that this will further embolden our enemies.  We’ll see if sanctions and unified allied opposition convince Putin to reverse course.  I am deeply concerned about this serious threat to global security and the resulting economic discord.

“I can’t help but think that stronger White House leadership from the start might have deterred this Russian aggression.  Going forward, there can be no question that Putin’s aggression will be answered or where the United States stands when it comes to protecting democracy.” 

Congressman Steven Palazzo (R) did not mince words on Twitter Thursday morning, saying, “Putin just declared war on a sovereign nation in an unprovoked attack on our ally. There is no defense for hesitation from the White House.”

Congressman Michael Guest kept his comments on Thursday morning simple. He has been in Israel on a Congressional visit with fellow Republicans.

“My prayers are with the innocent people of Ukraine,” he tweeted.

“Last night, Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion into the autonomous country of Ukraine. Despite his attempts to justify this direct breach of international law through falsehoods and lies, the world understands this move for what it is — a reckless and evil attempt to seize control of a sovereign and democratic country. The consequences of weak leadership during this time will result in devastating consequences for the world. If peace and democracy are to prevail, the United States and NATO must issue swift and crippling economic sanctions against Russia and its leaders responsible for these clear actions of war. I fully condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and I stand ready to join our leaders in Washington and across the world in holding Putin accountable for his actions,” said Guest.

President Biden is meeting with world leaders this morning and plans to address the American people at 11:30am in nationally televised speech. The White House issued the following statement attributed to Biden following his call with the Ukrainian President:

“President Zelenskyy reached out to me tonight and we just finished speaking. I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council. He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with the Leaders of the G7, and the United States and our Allies and partners will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia. We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

Scenes from Ukraine are disturbing. Video of Russian air assaults and ground troops entering Ukraine are being shared across social media. Here are a few from this morning:

UPDATE 12:30 p.m. CST from President Joe Biden: