Maine House members overwhelmingly passed a joint resolution Tuesday in support of the people of Ukraine in their battle against Russian invaders.

The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, said she was part of the first Peace Corps mission to Ukraine one year after 92 percent of that country voted for independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“Like Maine, the winter days were short and cold, but we were quickly warmed by the welcoming spirit of Ukrainians,” Millett said. “The following two years, I learned of their proud heritage, their love of poetry, song and dance. The bloody tragedies of world wars soaked into their lands and their psyche.”

Millett said she worked with government officials to forge a new path forward.

“Over the past 30 years and with each new generation, Ukraine has forged its identity as a sovereign nation with elections, popular movements and an unwillingness to fall back into the clutches of Russia,” she said. “The taste of freedom and self-determination is strong.”

While the Senate has yet to vote on Millett’s resolution, it was co-sponsored by all but three members of the Legislature.


The resolution recognizes the shared democratic values of Mainers and Ukrainians, condemns Russia’s invasion, and expresses solidarity with the Ukrainian fight to preserve freedom. It also expresses support for the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion, including sanctions and military supplies, and encourages Mainers to find ways to support the people of Ukraine.

A force of roughly 200,000 Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine that were under the control of Russian-backed separatists.

Putin predicted a swift victory, but Russian forces have been stymied by fierce Ukrainian opposition, especially in the battle for Kyiv. U.S. authorities believe Russia is giving up trying to take the nation’s capital city and are refocusing efforts on the eastern part of the country, while continuing their assault on the coastal city of Mariupol.

Russia is accused of committing war crimes. After Russian troops left the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, reports emerged of civilians, including women and children, who appeared to have been executed and left in the streets, some with their hands bound.

An estimated 4 million people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, and thousands are estimated to have died.

The three sitting lawmakers who did not co-sponsor the resolution were Sen. Bradlee Farrin, R-Somerset, Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, and Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris. Evangelos and Andrews voted against it Tuesday.


Andrews was the only lawmaker who spoke against the resolution from the House floor Tuesday.

Andrews said he supports Ukrainians and opposes Putin’s invasion. But he could not support the resolution because he worried about the United States escalating its involvement in the conflict.

“American escalation is not the answer,” Andrews said. “Those in this chamber must listen carefully to hear the drums of war. They’re beginning to beat slowly on our shores. We, as a legislative body, must not join the band.”

After the vote, Evangelos said he opposed the resolution because he thought it was one-sided and ignored concerns expressed by Russia about NATO looking to expand eastward.

“No one is looking at the other side,” Evangelos said, adding that he was not taking sides.

“I don’t support war,” he said. “I’m neutral. I’m not rooting for anyone. The resolution should have called for peace and respected the rights of the Russian people who are living in the east and it didn’t.”

Farrin could not be reached for comment.

Prior to the vote, Millett urged her colleagues not to take American democracy and security for granted.

“As we gather here in the State House engaged in a debate of ideas and policies, let us be grateful for the privilege to serve our communities and the state of Maine without fear of reprisal, of invasion, of destruction and death,” she said.

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