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Governor of Alaska Sends Message to Putin Allies After Russia Demands State Back

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Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy has responded to allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin who have argued that Russia could retake his state, and appeared to mock the idea.

Dunleavy, a Republican, wrote a simple response to the Russian claims on Twitter on Thursday: “To the Russian politicians who believe they can take back Alaska: Good luck.”

The governor shared an article from The Washington Examiner about comments made by Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, and a close ally of Putin.

During a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Volodin said: “Let America always remember, there is a part of [Russian] territory: Alaska.”

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In this combination image, Michael Dunleavy (Inset), governor of Alaska, speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, July 16, 2020 and Russian military and pro-Russian separatists keep watch as civilians are being evacuated along humanitarian corridors from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on March 24, 2022. Dunleavy appeared to mock suggestions that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

“So when [U.S. lawmakers] attempt to appropriate our assets abroad, they should be aware that we also have something to claim back,” Volodin said.

His comments come amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies on Putin’s government.

The Department of Justice has said $30 billion in Russian oligarchs’ assets has been frozen, and $300 billion in Russian central bank funds.

Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, which is Russia’s lower house of parliament, has also suggested holding a referendum among Alaskans about the possibility of rejoining Russia.

Given Governor Dunleavy’s reaction to Russian rhetoric, it seems unlikely Alaskans would opt to return to rule from Moscow.

Alaska was a territory of the Russian empire in the late 18th and 19th centuries but was purchased by the U.S. in 1867 for $7.2 million. Russia has never formally asserted a territorial claim to Alaska since the sale, and despite recent remarks by Russia politicians, the ownership of Alaska is not officially disputed.

Comments about retaking Alaska have become more common since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and strong U.S. opposition to Putin’s government.

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