President Biden strongly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine during his annual report State of the Union Address Tuesday. Here are some excerpts from his prepared remarks, as released by the White House.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Six days ago, Russian Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world, thinking he could bend it to his menacing ways. But he miscalculated.
He thought he could ride in Ukraine and the world would change. Instead, he encountered a wall of force he never imagined.
He met the Ukrainian people.
From President Zelensky to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination inspire the world.
Groups of citizens blocking the tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retired teachers have become soldiers defending their homeland.
In this struggle, as President Zelensky said in his speech to the European Parliament, “light will prevail over darkness”. The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States is here tonight.
May each of us here tonight in this room send an unequivocal signal to Ukraine and to the world.
Please stand up if you can and show that, yes, we, the United States of America, stand with the people of Ukraine.
Throughout our history we have learned this lesson when dictators don’t pay the price for their aggression, they cause more chaos.
They keep moving.
And the costs and threats to America and the world continue to mount.
This is why the NATO Alliance was created to ensure peace and stability in Europe after the Second World War.
The United States is a member along with 29 other nations.
It matters. American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.
Putin’s latest attack on Ukraine was premeditated and unprovoked.
He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy.
He thought the West and NATO would not respond. And he thought he could divide us at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready. Here’s what we did.
We prepared thoroughly and carefully.
We spent months building a coalition of other freedom-loving nations from Europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa to take on Putin.
I have spent countless hours uniting our European allies. We shared with the world in advance what we knew Putin was planning and precisely how he would try to falsely justify his aggression.
We have pitted the truth against Russia’s lies.
And now that he has acted, the free world holds him accountable.
With 27 members of the European Union, including France, Germany, Italy, as well as countries like the UK, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and more others, even Switzerland.
We inflict pain on Russia and support the Ukrainian people. Putin is now more isolated from the world than ever.
Together with our allies, we are currently applying powerful economic sanctions.
We cut the largest Russian banks from the international financial system. Preventing the Russian central bank from defending the Russian rouble, rendering Putin’s $630 billion “war fund” worthless.
We are stifling Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come.
Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have cheated billions of dollars from this violent regime: “No more”.
The US Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to prosecute the crimes of Russian oligarchs.
We join our European allies in finding and seizing their yachts their luxury apartments their private jets. We come for your ill-begotten gains.
And tonight, I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding further pressure on its economy. He has no idea what’s coming.
The ruble has lost 30% of its value.
The Russian stock market has lost 40% of its value and trading remains suspended. The Russian economy is in shock and Putin is solely responsible.
Together with our allies, we support Ukrainians in their struggle for freedom. Military aid. Economic aid. Humanitarian aid.
We are providing over $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine and we will continue to help the Ukrainian people defend their country and alleviate their suffering.
But let’s be clear: our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.
Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies – in case Putin decides to keep moving west.
To that end, we have mobilized US ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments to protect NATO nations, including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
As I have said very clearly: the United States and our allies will defend every inch of NATO country territory with the full force of our collective power. Every inch.
And we remain lucid. The Ukrainians are fighting back with pure courage. But the next few days, weeks and months will be tough for them.
Putin unleashed violence and chaos. But even if he can make gains on the battlefield, he will pay a high price in the long run.
And a proud Ukrainian people, who have enjoyed 30 years of independence, have repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to set their country back.
To all Americans, I will be honest with you, as I have always promised. A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs all over the world.
And I am taking strong action to ensure that the pain of our sanctions targets the Russian economy. And I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers.
Tonight I can announce that the United States has worked with 30 other countries to release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world.
America will lead this effort, releasing 30 million barrels of our own strategic oil reserve. And we are ready to do more if necessary, united with our allies.
These measures will help to blunt gasoline prices here at home. And I know the news about what is happening can seem alarming.
But I want you to know that everything will be fine.
When the history of this era is written, Putin’s war on Ukraine will have weakened Russia and strengthened the rest of the world.
While it wouldn’t have taken something so terrible for people around the world to see what’s at stake, now everyone sees it clearly.
We see unity among the leaders of nations, a more unified Europe, a more unified West. And we see unity among people gathering in cities in large crowds around the world, even in Russia, to show their support for the Ukrainian people.
In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.
It’s a real test. That will take time. Let us therefore continue to be inspired by the iron will of the Ukrainian people.
To our fellow Ukrainian Americans who are forging a deep bond that connects our two nations, we stand with you.
Putin can surround Kiev with tanks, but he will never win the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people.
He will never extinguish their love of freedom. It will never weaken the resolve of the free world.