President Joe Biden vowed to make Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies “pay a price” for their brutal invasion of Ukraine at his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, CNN reports.
"A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world," Biden said, vowing "robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at Russia's economy."
Biden also announced a new Justice Department taskforce that will “go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.”
“We’re joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets,” Biden said. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
The European Union over the weekend similarly announced that it would target assets held by Russian oligarchs in the west in response to Russia’s aggression.
Biden also announced that the US would ban Russian aircraft from its airspace, as European allies and Canada have done.
“We will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy. He has no idea what’s coming,” he said.
Biden touted the impact that sanctions have already had, noting that the west has cut off $630 billion in Putin’s war chest.
“The ruble has already lost 30 percent of its value,” Biden said. “The Russian stock market has lost 40 percent of its value, and trading remains suspended. The Russian economy is reeling, and Putin alone is the one to blame.”
No no-fly zone:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian officials have pressed the U.S. and NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which western officials worry would result in direct conflict with Russia.
Biden on Tuesday reaffirmed his support for NATO’s defense, vowing to “defend every inch of territory that is NATO territory with the full force of our collective power.”
Biden has deployed U.S. troops to Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia but vowed that American troops would not be involved in the conflict in Ukraine.
“Our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine,” he said. “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.”