Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday during her weekly press briefing called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “tyrant” and said it was “stunning” to see him enter Ukraine.
“It’s stunning to see, in this day and age, a tyrant roll into a country. This is the same tyrant who attacked our democracy in 2016,” Pelosi said during the briefing.
“This is the same tyrant who is opposed to democracy and wants to trivialize it, to downgrade it, in the eyes of the Russian people,” she added.
“I think that one thing that we’ve all agreed upon is an attack on Ukraine by the Russians is an attack on democracy,” she also said.
Pelosi’s remarks come after Putin on Monday recognized two separatist regions of Ukraine as independent, calling them the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. The Russian president also said that he would send supposed “peacekeeping” forces to those regions.
Since then, the U.S., along with other countries including the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada and others, have imposed sanctions on Russia, a move of which the Kremlin said the U.S. will feel the “consequences.”
“There is no doubt that the sanctions introduced against us will hit global financial and energy markets. The United States will not be left out, with its ordinary citizens feeling the consequences of the price increase in full,” Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.
But Pelosi, who has faced arguments from some critics that President Biden’s sanctions do not go far enough, called the sanctions “appropriate,” while remaining open to the possibility that the president could expand them later, a consideration Biden has also acknowledged.
“If Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions,” Biden said when he announced the plans.