President Joe Biden gives State of the Union, talks Ukraine


During the State of the Union, President Joe Biden stated, “To our fellow Ukrainian-Americans who forged a deep bond that connects our two nations, we stand with you.”

Since last spring, Russia has been sending troops and supplies to the border of Ukraine. The debate opened up around whether or not Russia was planning on invading Ukraine, and the logistics of how other foreign powers would react.

That debate is over.

On Feb. 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed the military to enter Southeastern Ukraine for “peacekeeping duties” after they were declared by Putin to be independent. On Feb. 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion began in the eastern territory of Donbas.

The United Nation’s human rights office released information stating that as of March 1, 136 civilians have been killed during the assault.

As of March 1, satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed a 40-mile long convoy of Russian vehicles approaching the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. At the same time, the second-largest city in the country – Kharkiv – was under attack via Russian shelling. Ukraine and Russia discussed on Feb. 28, and are looking to continue discussions during the conflict.

Since the beginning of the invasion, many foreign powers have officially addressed the war in Ukraine. On Feb. 24, U.S. President Joe Biden announced sanctions to damage Russia’s economy – the 11th largest in the world according to World Bank Data. The United Kingdom, European Union, Australia and Japan also unveiled sanctions at the same time. On Friday, some even sanctioned Putin himself.

On Feb. 26, the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and Canada pledged to remove certain Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

In his State of the Union address on March 1, Biden announced that the US “will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy”. This is following the Feb. 24 ban of Russian planes in United Kingdom airspace and the Feb. 27 ban in both European Union and Canadian airspace. Russia has responded in turn by banning those who have banned them.

Biden also announced the launch of a task force by the Department of Justice to investigate Russian oligarchs, while also reassuring that the U.S. would not get militarily involved in the conflict.

“Our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” Biden said. Biden and the Pentagon deployed 7000 additional service members to Germany on Feb. 24.

Biden makes this point to reiterate what Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during his press briefing on Feb. 28.

“Putin is the one escalating this and continues to do so. We’re going to stand by the Ukrainian Armed Forces as we have as other NATO allies have. And we’re going to continue to find ways to help them defend themselves,” Kirby said.

At the address, Ukraine ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova stood beside first lady Jill Biden, holding the Ukrainian flag. Biden received a standing ovation for his statements of Ukraine, stating: “This is a real test. And it’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people. To our fellow Ukrainian-Americans who forged a deep bond that connects our two nations, we stand with you.”

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