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Holcomb orders audits, security checks amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered state agencies to review any contracts for possible ties to Russian businesses in reaction to the “wholly unwarranted and unjustified invasion” of Ukraine.

The executive order addresses the potential for Russian cyberattacks, any Hoosier tax dollars being spent in Russia, and any Russian funding that goes to Indiana universities. Once information is gathered, he says that “more specific actions will be promptly taken.”

Holcomb asked the Indiana Office of Technology to “strengthen and harden” the state government’s efforts to protect against cyberattacks. He also encouraged Hoosiers businesses and other organizations to do the same.

The Republican governor also told the Indiana Department of Administration to immediately review state government contracts sending tax dollars to Russia. The order said, “Upon completion, IDOA will promptly report its findings to the Governor’s Office.”

He also ordered the Commission for Higher Education to poll Hoosier public colleges and universities about Russian funding for programs, and report the findings to the Governor’s Office. “I also encourage our State’s private colleges and universities to promptly evaluate their own situation and take whatever steps they deem appropriate in this regard,” the order said.

Holcomb also encouraged all Hoosiers and their companies and organizations to evaluate their dealings with Russia.

The order said that “the state of Indiana proudly stands alongside Ukraine and its people as they fight for their country and a prompt end to this horrific war.”

Holcomb’s order is the latest in a growing number of similar actions by state governors aimed at punishing Russia for invading Ukraine.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, have ordered their states to review procurement contracts as well.

Governors in states that control the wholesale distribution of hard liquor, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, have directed state-owned liquor stores to remove Russian-made alcoholic beverages from their shelves.

Indiana’s order didn’t go the level that New York’s governor did on Sunday. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order forbidding her state, home to the nation’s largest Ukraine population, from doing business with Russia and canceling its investments in Russia. New York’s Democrat governor also welcomed refugees from Ukraine during a news conference.

Hochul’s economic sanctions follow those issued last week by President Joe Biden to help siphon resources from the Russian government, which launched its long-expected invasion of Ukraine last Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.