Doug Baldwin, a former wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, criticized Christians who support Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in a blistering tweet.
Baldwin stressed people cannot identify as Christians and also "support what Putin is doing right now," adding such behavior is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Baldwin did not mention anyone by name but it is likely his statement appeared to refer to Lauren Witzke, a Republican Delaware Senate candidate who made headlines for saying she identifies with Putin’s “Christian values” more than President Joe Biden.
Many agreed with Baldwin's assessment and called on others to continue to decry Putin's behavior
In the weeks before the invasion, Russia had issued several security demands the United States and its allies rejected.
Putin aims to curtail the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), seeking to bar Ukraine from joining the alliance in a bid to assert Russia’s influence over its neighbors, aspirations that gained further prominence after Putin seized the Crimean Penninsula in 2014.
Although Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, it is partnered with the military alliance. This development angered Putin, who views Ukraine not as an independent nation but as land lost as a result of the end of the Cold War, which resulted in the Soviet Union's collapse and diminished Russia's superpower status.
Putin had left world leaders guessing as to whether or not he actually wanted to proceed with an invasion though he clearly wants NATO to curb military exercises in Ukraine and in other former Soviet satellite states, demands that resulted in a diplomatic stalemate.
While the invasion has sparked considerable protest and condemnation around the world, some high-profile figures within the Republican Party have suggested that Putin's invasion was justified.
Last week, former President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon suggested that Putin's action in Ukraine is understandable because of the country's desire to strengthen ties with the West, adding that Americans should support Putin because he is "anti-woke" and has criticized his country's LGBTQ+ community for openly flying Pride flags.