Alaska Gov. Reacts to Hearing Russia Wants It Back: 'Good Luck With That'

The governor of Alaska has responded to suggestions from a Russian lawmaker that the country wants his state back by warning Alaskans are armed and would resist.

Governor Mike Dunleavy was responding to comments from Oleg Matveychev, a member of the Russian Duma, who told state TV on Sunday that Russia should be considering reparations from the U.S. for lost territories.

The remarks came amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin announced sanctions against President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials on Tuesday, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Dunleavy, a Republican who has been governor since 2018, shared an article from The Daily Mail about Matveychev's comments and tweeted suggesting that Alaskans would resist any attempt to reassert Russian claims to his state.

"Good luck with that!" Dunleavy wrote. "Not if we have something to say about it. We have hundreds of thousands of armed Alaskans and military members that will see it differently."

Speaking on Russian state TV on Sunday, Matveychev told Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov that Russia should be considering reparations and specifically highlighted former territories of the Russian empire.

"We should be thinking about reparations from the damage that was caused by the sanctions and the war itself, because that too costs money and we should get it back," Matveychev said.

"The return of all Russian properties, those of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and current Russia, which has been seized in the United States, and so on," he went on.

When he was asked whether that included Alaska and the former Russian settlement of Fort Ross in California, he suggested that he also had those territories in mind.

"That was my next point. As well as the Antarctic," Matveychev said. "We discovered it, so it belongs to us."

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. Fort Ross, located near San Francisco, was sold to a private buyer in 1841. Russia has never formally asserted claims to Alaska or land in California.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now entered its third week with Ukraine putting up fierce resistance to Russian forces, while the U.S. and its allies have imposed significant sanctions on Russia and provided Ukraine with humanitarian and military aid.

On Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry announced its own sanctions on 12 individuals including President Biden and Hillary Clinton. Its list also included the president's son, Hunter Biden, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Governor Dunleavy has encouraged companies that are pulling out of Russia to consider his state. In a tweet on February 28, the governor shared an article about Shell leaving Russia and wrote: "I have a message to companies looking to make long-term investments in stable, peaceful regions: Come to Alaska."

Mike Dunleavy Speaks at the White House
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 16, 2020, during an event on Rolling Back Regulations to Help All Americans on the South Lawn at the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Dunleavy has said "armed Alaskans" would not welcome Russian claims to the state. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images