Reps. Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, AOC, and Cori Bush join 39 other lawmakers to urge Biden to seek congressional approval before sending troops into Ukraine

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  • Forty-three lawmakers asked Biden to get congressional approval before sending troops into Ukraine.

  • The lawmakers, some of whom have acrimonious histories, cosigned a letter to the president.

  • Biden has sent US troops to NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania amid escalating tensions in the region.

Forty-three lawmakers from both sides of the aisle signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to obtain approval from Congress before sending US troops to intervene in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The letter, dated Tuesday, was signed by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush and Trump-allied GOP representatives including Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar. It called for Biden to abide by the Constitution and seek congressional authorization before sending US troops to "engage in hostilities."

"We strongly urge your administration to respect the separation of powers, U.S. law, and Congress's constitutional war powers authority," the letter read.

The US has supplied Ukraine with lethal aid and military training but has been pulling all of its forces out of Ukraine, as Biden has repeatedly said US forces will not enter Ukraine to defend it. Ukraine is a US ally but is not a member of NATO.

"Should your administration seek to introduce U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or decline to remove any U.S. military personnel currently deployed inside Ukraine from unauthorized hostilities or imminent hostilities, Congress stands ready to deliberate over the potentially monumental implications of such scenarios," the letter added.

"The American people, through their representatives in Congress, deserve to have a say before U.S. troops are placed in harm's way or the U.S. becomes involved in yet another foreign conflict," the lawmakers wrote.

The letter represents a rare instance in which progressive Democrats and far-right GOP representatives have jointly called for action.

Some of the signees have recently been embroiled in personal spats. In November, for instance, Gosar posted an anime clip edited to show himself slaying Ocasio-Cortez in monstrous form. Also in November, Bush called for the expulsion of three House Republicans — including Gosar — who'd indicated they'd offer Kyle Rittenhouse an internship after the 18-year-old was found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two men.

The lawmakers' letter came amid escalating tensions surrounding the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

On Tuesday, Biden said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine had begun. This came after Russia recognized two separatist territories in eastern Ukraine as independent, and announced it was sending so-called "peacekeepers" into the region. The area that Russia is sending troops into — Ukraine's eastern Donbas region — has been consumed by a war between Kremlin-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces since 2014. Russia also invaded Ukraine in 2014, annexing Crimea in the process.

The president warned Russia that the US and its allies would "defend every inch of NATO territory." He also announced that additional US troops would be headed to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Biden has repeatedly said that US troops will not be sent into Ukraine to defend it against Russia. Since Ukraine is not a NATO member, the US is not obligated to defend it in the event of an attack.

"The idea the US will unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards," Biden told reporters in December. "We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies under Article 5. It's a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to ... Ukraine."

Reiterating this position last Friday, Biden said the US "will not send troops in to fight in Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people."

Similarly, Biden in his remarks on Tuesday said, "We have no intention of fighting Russia."

That said, the US and other NATO members have provided Ukraine with security assistance, including lethal aid. Biden in his speech on Tuesday said that this assistance would continue as he warned that Putin appeared poised to take more of Ukraine's territory by force.

Read the original article on Business Insider