JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday called for more severe sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Parson told reporters gathered for an annual Missouri Press Association Capitol meeting that sanctions should be “much more severe” and encouraged any action to “cutoff the Russian influence and hurt them financially.”
Missouri's public worker retirement plan had about $1.6 million worth of investments in Russia as of Wednesday morning, according to the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System. Board members voted Thursday to divest completely as soon as possible.
“We don’t want the state of Missouri, or public funds, being used to support the Putin regime right now, especially while he’s invading Ukraine,” said Republican state Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, who led the push to divest.
Parson said he’s ready to help in any way if requested, but added that there’s little else states can do aside from urging the U.S. government to stand strong against Russia.
The Republican-led state House on Thursday did just that, passing a resolution encouraging President Joe Biden and Congress to ramp up sanctions and crack down on Russian oligarchs' assets.
“Today we proudly stand alongside Ukraine, its people and its leaders during this horrific and unnecessary war and vow to support Ukraine (and) hold Russia fully accountable for its catastrophic decision to invade this sovereign nation," Republican Rep. Mike Haffner said.
Biden’s administration announced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and others in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle Thursday.
Those targeted include Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, and Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov, one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and a close ally of Putin. The U.S. State Department also announced it was imposing visa bans on 19 Russian oligarchs and dozens of their family members and close associates.
Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report.