WASHINGTON — In his 2022 State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden announced new restrictions on Russian airplanes flying in American airspace and vowed to increase the pressure on Russian leader Vladimir Putin to stop the bloody invasion of Ukraine.
Biden devoted the opening portion of his remarks — delivered maskless to a roomful of similarly maskless lawmakers, military officials, and Supreme Court judges — to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, praising the bravery of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and vowing to help end the conflict as soon as possible. “We are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine,” Biden said. “Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever.”
In terms of actual news, Biden declared that American airspace would be now closed off to Russian airplanes, which could further damage that country’s free-falling economy. The move comes several days after the European Union said it would enact the same restriction, while also pledging to spend hundreds of millions of euros on weapons to send to Ukraine.
Biden said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. was already providing $1 billion in direct aid to Ukraine, adding that the American government “will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering.” He added that American “ground forces, air squadrons, and ship deployments” had been mobilized to protect NATO countries, but reiterated that he had no plans to send American troops into Ukraine to participate in the fighting there.
He also announced that the U.S., in partnership with 30 other countries, would release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world to ease a demand crunch for oil as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Biden reserved his strongest words of all for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Biden said Putin would “pay a price” for his decision to invade Ukraine, a decision that would “leave Russia weaker and the world stronger.” As lawmakers applauded his harsh talk directed at Putin, Biden added a line that did not appear in the prepared remarks released by the White House. Speaking about Putin, Biden said: “He has no idea what’s coming.”