US President, Joe Biden, has said to Congress that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, badly misjudged how the West would hit back as he continues invading Ukraine.
In a speech, Mr Biden averred “an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny”.
Democrats and Republicans reacted to Mr Biden’s appeal to show support for Ukraine by rising in unison to applaud.
Mr. Biden’s State of the Union address came as pandemic-weary Americans wrestle with galloping inflation.
In an hour-long address to lawmakers on Tuesday (March 2, 2022) night, the Democrat President said: “Putin’s war was premeditated and unprovoked. He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy.”
“He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. And he thought he could divide us here at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready.”US President, Joe Biden
He announced that the US would ban Russian aircraft from American airspace, following similar bans by Canadian and European authorities.
The US and its allies have also launched a barrage of sanctions against Russia’s economy and financial system, as well as Mr. Putin himself. In Mr. Biden’s speech, he shifted from his prepared remarks to vow further economic retaliation, warning Mr. Putin that: “He has no idea what’s coming.”
The US President, also welcomed Ukrainian Ambassador, Oksana Markarova, who received a standing ovation as she sat in US First Lady, Jill Biden’s VIP box.
Hours before his address, Mr. Biden spoke to Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to discuss what help the US could give his country over the past six days of the Russian assault.
“Let each of us… stand and send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world,” says Mr. Biden to his audience in the chamber of the House of Representatives.
It was one of the few moments in the speech where members of both deeply polarised parties (Republicans and Democrats), rose together to clap and cheer for Ukraine. Many of them also waved Ukrainian flags that were passed out before Mr. Biden arrived.
Mr Biden’s first formal State of the Union speech, an annual event pushing a president’s agenda, came as his approval rating languishes.
According to RealClearPolitics polls, just 40.6% of Americans are happy with his job performance.
After addressing his biggest foreign policy crisis, the invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Biden confronted a host of domestic troubles chasing his presidency. Issues ranging from the enduring pandemic to rising consumer prices and the wave of violent crimes.
Although the jobless rate, US jobless rate, has sunk to 4%, inflation has hit a 40-year high. The President sought on Tuesday (March 1, 2022) night to empathise with hard-pressed working families, saying: “I get it,” promising a plan for“building a better America”.
Mr. Biden intimated that the best way to counter rocketing consumer prices was to boost domestic production of cars and semiconductors and rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges.
Opinion polls show Americans are also unhappy with Mr. Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, members of Congress present as the US President delivered his speech, were not mandated to wear masks for the first time in months.
Mr Biden said: “Last year Covid-19 kept us apart. This year we are finally together again.”