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  4. 'Putin badly miscalculated': Joe Biden hails Ukrainians as 'wall of strength' as war continues

'Putin badly miscalculated': Joe Biden hails Ukrainians as 'wall of strength' as war continues

Joe Biden reiterated America's support to Ukraine against the Russian invasion but said that the US won't be involved in its fight against Russia. He, however, said that the US will protect NATO territories together with its allies.

India TV News Desk Written by: India TV News Desk Washington Updated on: March 02, 2022 11:27 IST
President Joe Biden speaks about the Russian invasion of
Image Source : AP

President Joe Biden speaks about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.

Highlights

  • Biden accused Putin of waging a 'premeditated and unprovoked' war against Ukraine
  • He asserted that 'dictators' like Putin would 'pay a price for invading' a foreign country
  • Joe Biden reiterated that the United States of America is with the Ukrainian people

Addressing a concerned nation and anxious world, President Joe Biden vowed in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to check Russian aggression in Ukraine. Biden declared that he and all members of Congress, whatever their political differences, are joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.” He asked the lawmakers crowding the House chamber to stand and salute the Ukrainians. 

Biden in his 62-minute speech highlighted the bravery of Ukrainian defenders and the commitment of a newly reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. 

"Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over," the President said.

Accusing his Russian counterpart of waging a 'premeditated and unprovoked' war against Ukraine, Biden asserted that 'dictators' like Vladimir Putin would "pay a price for invading" a foreign country. "A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world," Biden said in a prime-time speech, nearly a week after President Putin ordered a special military operation against Ukraine.

'Putin met a wall of strength'

"Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people. From President Zelenskyy to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world. Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland," Biden said.

"Let each of us here tonight in this Chamber send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world. Please rise if you are able and show that, yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people," he said.

He warned of costs to the American economy, as well, but warned ominously that without consequences, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression wouldn’t be contained to Ukraine.

“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden said. “They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”

As Biden spoke, Russian forces were escalating their attacks in Ukraine, having bombarded the central square of country’s second-biggest city and Kyiv’s main TV tower, killing at least five people. The Babi Yar Holocaust memorial was also damaged.

US bans Russian planes from its airspace

Biden announced that the US is following Canada and the European Union in banning Russian planes from its airspace in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine. 

"And tonight I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights – further isolating Russia – and adding an additional squeeze –on their economy. The Ruble has lost 30% of its value. The Russian stock market has lost 40% of its value and trading remains suspended. Russia’s economy is reeling and Putin alone is to blame," he said.

He also said the Justice Department was launching a task force to go after crimes of Russian oligarchs, whom he called “corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime.”

“We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he said, pledging that the U.S. and European allies were coming after their yachts, luxury apartments and private jets.

“Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people,” Biden said. “He will never extinguish their love of freedom. He will never weaken the resolve of the free world.”

Biden said that "together with our allies we are providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom". "Military assistance. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance. We are giving more than $1 Billion in direct assistance to Ukraine. And we will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering."

'Won't engage in conflict with Russian forces'

"Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO Allies – in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west. For that purpose we’ve mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. As I have made crystal clear the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power. And we remain clear-eyed."

"The Ukrainians are fighting back with pure courage. But the next few days weeks, months, will be hard on them. 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. And a proud Ukrainian people, who have known 30 years of independence, have repeatedly shown that they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards," the President said.

Meanwhile, Russia's 'special military operation' in Ukraine has entered the seventh day on Wednesday. A massive Russian airstrikes hit the centre of Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv on Tuesday, as rockets struck residential areas and buildings of the regional state administration. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has vowed to continue the military operation in Ukraine until achieving the main goal of defending Russia from Western threats.

READ MORE: European Parliament accepts Ukraine's application for EU membership

READ MORE: Joe Biden joins allies, bans Russian planes from US airspace

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