McConnell: ‘Don’t Hold Back’ on Sanctions Against Russia; Beshear Expects Gas Prices to Rise at Home

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says President Joe Biden should increase sanctions against Russia as they continue a full military invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which is the largest attack on a European country since World War II.

“Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don’t hold any back,” McConnell said while in Louisville Thursday morning at an opioid roundtable.

McConnell’s statements to local media come after Russian President Vladimir Putin started what he dubbed as “military operations,” and Ukraine says is a full-scale invasion on three fronts. The Kentucky Republican told reporters he would be against putting American troops in Ukraine.

Reports coming into international news organizations on Thursday indicated that Russians have taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site, a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said was “a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear took to his social media accounts on Thursday morning calling the developments deeply concerning. Beshear said champions of democracy and the rule of law have come together to “impose the most severe sanctions we’ve seen. These are aimed at wrecking the Russian economy and thus stopping the aggression.”

“We will feel some of this here in Kentucky,” Beshear continued, adding the war and sanctions would lead to a rise in gas prices at home.

“This is a small price to pay to stop this act of aggression,” he said. “Though I understand we will all feel it.”

McConnell and Beshear are not the only Kentuckians to weigh in on the attack on Ukraine. Former UN Ambassador and likely GOP gubernatorial candidate Kelly Craft appeared on a New York talk radio show on Wednesday evening.

Craft said that Biden’s “response has been very disappointing.”