DOVER — The Delaware General Assembly demanded that Russia immediately cease its invasion of Ukraine, and return to diplomacy and the rules-based international order Tuesday by unanimously voting for House Concurrent Resolution 53.
The measure doesn’t have actual power to change anything, but it is a declaration of the feelings of the leadership and the people of the First State.
“It may only look like words, but these are the words that we need to defeat terrorist activities in this world, to defeat the butchers in this world,” the resolution’s sponsor Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, said.
HCR 53 expresses the General Assembly’s strong support for Ukraine in its war against the invasion by the Russian Federation and for the severe economic sanctions imposed on Russia by President Joe Biden’s administration.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian people voted overwhelmingly to form a sovereign nation independent from Russia, building a democracy grounded in the rule of law. In 2014, a protest movement in Ukraine led to the resignation of authoritarian president Viktor Yanukovych, a brutal ally of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, and the Ukrainian people democratically elected leaders who have sought closer ties to the European Union and the United States, Tuesday’s approved resolution said.
The measure denounced Russia’s 2014 annexation of territory from Ukraine, “that not only usurped the free will of the Ukrainian people but instigated a deadly separatist war in Eastern Ukraine that Russia has supported and supplied, resulting in the destabilization of the region and the deaths of thousands of civilians.”
Rep. Kowalko, along with other members of the General Assembly, on Tuesday said he can trace his family heritage to eastern Europe and the area near Ukraine.
The Newark Democrat’s resolution makes it very clear that he and Delaware’s legislators believe President Putin’s actions are illegal and immoral. The measure calls Russia’s war on Ukraine, “unjust and unprovoked.”
Along with condemning Russia, lawmakers praised the people of Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a proud, honorable and sovereign nation under siege, and the brutality of this unnecessary and violent war is an affront to both international law and common decency,” HCR 53 said.
In the Senate Chamber, Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, D-Talleyville, acknowledged Delaware’s large Ukrainian community.
Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, expressed his concern for Delaware’s youth in his denouncement of Russia’s actions.
“A lot of our young people are being exposed to war for the very first time in social media apps. You’re seeing stuff on TikTok, and everywhere, images of what’s happening over there. And it’s the real first experience that a lot of our younger Delawareans are getting of the horrors and the pictures of war,” he said.