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Montana leaders urge sanctions against Russia

Montana’s top political leaders issued statements Thursday as the United States announced new sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines called Putin “a thug” and said he does not support sending American troops to Ukraine. President Biden has ordered more U.S. troops to Europe and its NATO allies but has said the forces will not engage in the conflict in Ukraine. A spokesperson for Daines said he supports sanctions against Russia but thinks it’s too late.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester says Putin single-handedly started a war that makes the world less safe. Tester says he supports the actions the Biden administration and U.S. allies took against Russia and will continue to support NATO and European allies.

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale said Thursday he does not support sending troops overseas and the United States has no obligation to aid Russia or Ukraine in the conflict.

Gov. Greg Gianforte says the U.S. and democratic allies should "respond immediately with strict, comprehensive sanctions against Russia."

Montana National Guard troops have not received orders or changed their operations in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but they are monitoring the situation closely.

Major Ryan Finnegan said in a statement the state national guard is standing by for any changes that higher headquarters may order.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday he’s ordering additional U.S. troops to Europe, but said they will not be engaged in conflict with Russia in Ukraine.

According to Finnegan, approximately 520 Montana National Guard troops are overseas currently. About 40 are in Europe.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Freddy Monares
Freddy Monares is a reporter and Morning Edition host at Montana Public Radio. He previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, covered the 2017 Legislature for UM Legislative News Service and interned with the station as a student. He graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2017.
Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.