For a week, we have witnessed Vladimir Putin’s vicious disregard for international law, national sovereignty and basic human rights. On his orders, Russian forces have engaged in a campaign against Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and all those around the world who hold freedom and democratic self-determination sacred. The tragedies inflicted by the Russian forces are on Mr. Putin’s hands, and he must be held to account for the misery he has caused.
But as we have witnessed in the bravery of the people of Ukraine, Mr. Putin underestimated the resistance he and Russian forces would face in their war of choice. Ukraine refused to roll over. They have fought to defend their land, their families and their freedom, and people around the world have united in their efforts to do whatever possible to cripple the Russian economy and undermine Mr. Putin’s invasion.
Now Mr. Putin is issuing implicit threats to use nuclear weapons to achieve his goal. This is an unprecedented threat in recent history and cannot be ignored.
As the world’s ninth largest economy and the nation’s top exporting state, Texas’ role in global events is critical. As ships loaded with Texas natural gas sail for European ports to ensure countries reliant on Russian gas can provide power and heat to their citizens, and Texas soldiers prepare for deployment to the region, state leaders must also act.
Earlier this week, I instructed my staff to review every state contract and procurement in our Statewide Procurement Division and every payment made through the Texas Treasury for ties to Russian-owned businesses. The Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, which manages the Treasury Pool, Economic Stabilization Fund and other endowments and investments, is working to identify any direct or indirect investments with Russia. We will be acting as swiftly as possible to divest any holdings with ties to the Russian state or Russian nationals.
This unprovoked war will, unfortunately, cause hardship for the Russian people. The blame for that also rests with Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Putin began his war on Feb. 24. Texans recognize that date as the anniversary of Lt. Colonel William B. Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter from the Alamo. The letter is addressed to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World.” Travis writes, “I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch…” And though Travis could not hold the Alamo, his words and leadership have stiffened the resolve of countless Texans who have sacrificed so much for liberty.
Now we are again called in the name of Liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, and the state of Texas will heed that call.
–Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts