By Bob Katzen

Governor Charlie Baker ordered all Massachusetts executive branch agencies to review their contracts and terminate any agreements with any executive department agency that is currently contracting with any Russian state-owned company or otherwise engaged in any partnership, affiliation, or exchange with any Russian state-owned company, Russian government-controlled entity or Russian governmental body.

The executive order also encourages independent agencies and authorities, public institutions of higher education and all other constitutional offices to follow this policy

The order requires the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants to work in collaboration with federal and private agencies to assist Ukrainian immigrants and refugees fleeing the conflict with finding a job, obtaining health care and locating housing in order to qualify for permanent immigration status.

Gov. Baker called the invasion an unjustified attack that violates the most basic principles of international law. “With this order, we hope to build on the sanctions the federal government has already placed on Russia for their unjustified attack on Ukraine,” said Baker. “The commonwealth of Massachusetts condemns the actions of Russia and stands firmly with the free and democratic nation of Ukraine.”

In the meantime, House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), have filed a bill that mandates the state to divest money from all public pension funds, managed by the state, that currently engage in commerce in any form by Russia.

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attacks have brought nations together and Massachusetts should vigorously pursue options to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the global coalition supporting Ukraine, defending democracy and bringing an end to Putin’s ability to cause fear, death and destruction,” said Tarr. “The people of Massachusetts deserve a way to show support for Ukraine’s fight for freedom. This bill sends a clear signal that we will do our part for democracy in the world.”

“Russia’s aggressive and unwarranted military action against the citizens of Ukraine has drawn international condemnation and cannot go unchallenged,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “By removing all Russian investments from our state pension fund and taking additional steps to ensure that Russia cannot benefit from state contracts or gain access to banking assets in Massachusetts, this bill sends a clear message that the commonwealth stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their fight to remain part of a free and sovereign nation.”

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