SALT LAKE CITY — Utah leaders are speaking against Russian President Vladimir Putin's military operation in Ukraine.
This comes as Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine in a televised address, claiming it's intended to protect civilians. Putin said Russia doesn't have a goal to occupy Ukraine, but the operation is a response to threats coming from the country.
Putin also warned that any country who attempts to interfere with the Russian action would face "consequences they have never seen."
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) said in a statement he believes the move by Putin is "without honor."
"The peril of again looking away from Putin’s tyranny falls not just on the people of the nations he has violated, it falls on America as well," his statement reads in part. "History shows that a tyrant’s appetite for conquest is never satiated."
Romney said he believes the actions of the Russian country is a consequence of America's, "tepid response to his previous horrors in Georgia and Crimea, our naive efforts at a one-sided ‘reset,’ and the shortsightedness of ‘America First," he goes on to say.
The Utah Senator called on the United States and allies to protect freedom around the world by enforcing strict penalties on Putin and Russia.
"America and our allies must answer the call to protect freedom by subjecting Putin and Russia to the harshest economic penalties, by expelling them from global institutions, and by committing ourselves to the expansion and modernization of our national defense,” he said.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox took to twitter Wednesday night to pray for the safety of those in Ukraine.
"There is evil in this world," he tweeted. "Tonight we pray for the safety of those in Ukraine."
Representative Chris Stewart said he believes it's not too late to help Ukraine without sending in U.S. troops.
“President Biden’s strategy of restraint, in the hope of not provoking Putin, was doomed from the start. Still, it is not too late to help Ukraine defend itself without involving U.S. soldiers," Rep. Stewart said in a statement in part. "Putin does not fear bordering troops, light sanctions or President Biden, but there is one clear path to beating back Russian aggression: A well-armed, well-organized Ukrainian resistance."
“The Ukrainian people want to be free," his statement continues. "They do not want to be part of Russia, and they are willing to fight for that freedom. Half-hearted statements about reassessing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline are benign. President Biden and our NATO allies must immediately state their intention to cancel the pipeline, arm and support Ukrainian freedom fighters, and impose severe sanctions.”
Representative Burgess Owens said he's praying for the people of Ukraine during the attacks that he believes violates international law.
“Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine undermines its territorial sovereignty and violates international law," his statement reads. "America stands with Ukraine, our NATO allies, and freedom. I’m praying for every man, woman, and child across Ukraine tonight.”
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson called the attacks "unjustified" and called on everyone unite in compassion.
“On this somber morning, my heart is breaking and my thoughts are with the people of Ukraine," Wilson said in a statement. "This premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified act of war must unite us in compassion, as together we stand against tyranny.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill also took to twitter to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
"Solidarity and strength to the people of Ukraine as Putin announces military operations and blasts are being heard in several cities," he tweeted. "This is the face of authoritarianism and a sad day for the world and democracy."