Responding today to the unfolding situation in Ukraine and Russia, Gov. Phil Murphy said that his administration is alert to the myriad ways the conflict could impact New Jersey, and more generally disparaged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent intention to invade Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin is a thug,” Murphy said. “He runs a kleptocracy. This is a bad, bad, bad dude who has no right whatsoever deciding about somebody else’s borders… This guy is the enemy – not the Russian people, this guy and his cronies are the enemies of the United States of America. Let there be no doubt about that.”
The governor also took a shot at a number of Americans, many of them Republican Party politicians, who have said ambivalent or praiseworthy things about Putin’s territorial aggression.
“Anybody who is laudatory toward [Putin] who is an American should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. “That includes former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who should literally be ashamed of themselves by saying laudatory things towards this guy.”
In an interview yesterday, Trump called Putin a “genius” and said that his ploy to declare two eastern regions of Ukraine as independent states was “very savvy.”
As for the ways that the hostilities might ripple back to New Jersey, Murphy outlined four key factors he was looking closely at: New Jerseyans deployed to NATO countries as part of the U.S. Armed Forces; the potential for cyberattacks on both state agencies and the private sector; energy prices, which could rise given Russia’s key role in the global fossil fuel economy; and the Ukrainian American community in New Jersey.
“New Jersey has … a big Ukrainian population. The Ukrainian Orthodox North American headquarters are in South Bound Brook, in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “These are valued, important members of our New Jersey family.”