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Costa Says It’s a Badge of Honor To Be Sanctioned by Russia

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Cemetery worker Artem looks at the sky exhausted digging a grave on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 13, 2022. (AP File)
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Like other House members sanctioned by Russia, Rep. Jim Costa considers it “a badge of honor.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said last week it had imposed “mirror” sanctions on 398 U.S. members of Congress in response to similar sanctions levied against more than 300 Russian lawmakers in connection to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pelosi, McCarthy Not Sanctioned

Not every lawmaker was sanctioned and the rationale used by the Russians wasn’t made clear. Neither Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi nor Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were listed. The Russians previously banned Pelosi from entering the country.

However, with the exception of Bakersfield’s McCarthy, all of the Valley’s other federal lawmakers made the sanctioned list.

“Putin and his pariah regime sanctioning myself and my colleagues only further isolates the Russian government,” said Costa (D-Fresno) in a statement. “The U.S. will continue its efforts in standing with Ukraine by providing military and humanitarian aid in response to Russia’s aggression.”

Speaking to GV Wire, Costa said that the Russian invasion is “a seminal moment” and the United States and its NATO allies must succeed in helping Ukraine turn back Putin.

Republicans, Democrats React

Utah Republican Rep. John Curtis said it was an “honor to be included” on the list, as did Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) used the sanctions as an opportunity to tell the story of his ancestors. He explained on Twitter that his family escaped “the Russian pogroms” of the late 19th century and were granted refuge in the U.S.

“Today, 120 years later, I was sanctioned by Russia for opposing the very genocide, authoritarianism, and tyranny I promised my great-grandparents I would fight,” he said.

Costa recently led a moment of silence on the House floor honoring the hundreds of civilians killed by Russian forces in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Watch: Costa Leads Moment of Silence for Ukrainian War Dead

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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