Biden warns Putin ‘must pay a price’
President Joe Biden has stated that Russia’s Vladimir Putin “badly miscalculated” by ordering a military invasion of Ukraine, claiming he tried to “shake the very foundations of the free world.”
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden said at the opening of his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill Tuesday night.
Biden further claimed that “Putin’s war was premeditated and unprovoked” as the Russian leader “rejected efforts at diplomacy” and “thought the west and NATO wouldn’t respond.”
Putin has unleashed violence and chaos. But while he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run.
Biden specifically singled out Ukraine's Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova, who was seen sitting with first lady Jill Biden, for a long round of standing applause as he praised the resolve of the Ukrainian people.
“[Putin] thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined,” the president continued.
But while the US leader reiterated Washington’s unwavering support for the Kiev government and promised even more financial and military aid – he firmly rejected the idea of sending American troops to confront Russia on Ukrainian soil. Still, he boasted of a heightened military presence in the region, stating the deployments would shore up Washington's European partners.
“We have mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia... And as I’ve made crystal clear, the United States and our allies will defend every inch of territory, that is NATO territory, with the full force of our collective power,” Biden said to another round of applause.
While the president announced few new substantial measures against Moscow in the speech, largely sticking to condemning the country’s leadership for the ongoing military action, he did declare that US airspace would be closed to all Russian flights, mirroring similar steps taken by the European Union and other Western allies.
The US has echoed Kiev’s accusation that Russia launched an “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine last week. Announcing the start of the military incursion, Putin said its objective was to demilitarize and “denazify” the government of Ukraine, which he said was committing “genocide” in the breakaway republics of the Donbass.