SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Lawmakers throughout the ArkLaTex shared concerns Thursday about the decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to attack neighboring Ukraine, with most calling for tough sanctions.

President Joe Biden announced new sanctions Thursday afternoon, intended to cut off Russian access to U.S. financial markets and impose export controls. Biden said the U.S. is imposing economic sanctions instead of a military option – unless the conflict spreads to a NATO country.

Following the remarks from the presidential podium, Sen. Bill Cassidy released a statement supporting the move but asserting the U.S. government should do more. He also stated his opposition to U.S. military engagement.

“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has made us all stand with the Ukrainians. And if you’re freedom-loving, you are asking what should we do in response. In addition, we should not send troops. I don’t think that’s the right decision. But we should strengthen our U.S. forces in NATO countries that we’ve made commitments to. We should also do more than the sanctions that the president has laid out. What I proposed is to do is what happened during the Ronald Reagan administration. The Saudi Arabians flooded the world with cheap oil that destroyed the USSR’s economy, because they made their money selling oil. They could not support their war machine. The USSR fell apart.”

“Now substitute the [Saudi Arabians for the United States], we can do that now. Developing North American resources in a safe, environmentally-healthy way. Taking our natural gas, shipping it around the world, lowering prices for us, by the way creating jobs in the United States of America, but denying the Russians the income they would otherwise receive. That will drive a stake in the heart of their economy. That will destroy their war machine. That is what we should be doing. We’re stronger. They’re weaker.” 

Sen., M.D. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Before the president’s remarks Thursday afternoon, Cassidy released a brief statement calling Russia a “pariah nation” and saying that the nation should do everything short of involving U.S. forces, and the action should be unrelenting.

Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas joined the majority of his Republican Senate colleagues in introducing the Never Yeilding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act, releasing a statement condemning the aggressive action taken by Russia in Ukraine.

“We pray for the people of Ukraine as their freedom and safety are under grave assault. History will show they have not sought this conflict, but are justified in defending their sovereignty with courage and clarity.

“When Congress reconvenes, we must and will impose stringent sanctions on Russia – particularly on President Putin, his inner circle and others who benefit from his malicious behavior – in response to this unlawful invasion.”

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

In a statement posted to his Twitter page, U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana blamed the Biden administration for “dragging their feet” on sanctions saying they were taking an “appeasement approach” toward Russian aggression. In an interview with KTAL NBC 6 News, Johnson spoke about the urgency of this moment in history.

“This is a very dangerous and unstable time, and we have to take it very seriously. But the bigger problem is it empowers other dictators. Other terrorists, other tyrants around the world because if they perceive that America is weak or unable to act decisively, then it invites aggression in many different ways.”

“Weakness invites the wolves, That’s always been true, and we’re seeing it with the Russian aggression—Putin’s aggression—into Ukraine,” Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said in a video message posted to YouTube Thursday, giving his take on how inaction from previous administrations has emboldened Putin and calling for Russia’s expulsion from the international community.

“The American record in standing up to Putin has not been good under Democratic presidents. Former President Obama, Vice President Biden, and President Biden have blinked with respect to past Russian aggression in Belarus, in Crimea, in Syria. The debacle in Afghanistan, I think, emboldened Putin,” Kennedy continued.

“What do we need to do now? We need to teach Putin about time travel and knock him into next week. I’m not talking about a war. I’m talking about expelling Putin, not just from international markets, but from the international community. We need to make him a pariah.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also weighed in on the invasion of Ukraine Thursday in a statement announcing Vice President Kamala Harris has postponed a visit to Louisiana originally set for Friday has been postponed.

“I am holding the people of Ukraine in my prayers and in my heart, as their safety and sovereignty is threatened. The Ukrainians deserve to know peace and I hope all Louisianans will join me in praying that this peace comes swiftly,” Edwards said.

“No one knows precisely what the coming weeks and months will bring, but I am also praying for the members of our American military and their families, who always stand ready to defend freedom alongside our allies.“