Biden addresses nation on Ukraine
By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden addressed the nation Thursday after Russia declared war on Ukraine and deployed military forces to invade the neighboring nation.
President Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion, saying that “right now” there is a “complete rupture” in Russia-U.S. relations. He also said that President Putin has ambitions beyond Ukraine, in restoring the old Soviet Union.
“America stands up to bullies,” President Biden said in his televised remarks. “We stand up for freedom. This is who we are.”
The military effort comes after weeks of anticipation and geopolitical maneuvering between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and NATO nations.
“If Russia pursues cyber attacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we will respond,” President Biden added.
He went on to say the U.S. and NATO allies have readied their forces to defend NATO member countries in the region. NATO countries that border Ukraine include Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
“Our forces are not going to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO allies and defend those allies in the east,” President Biden said. “There is no doubt that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article 5 commitments, which say that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
President Biden touted the impact of U.S. economic measures to respond to Russia’s aggression after Russian currency and stocks plummeted Thursday. He said the U.S. is adding the names of “Russian elites” to the list of those facing financial consequences.
“These are people that personally gain from the Kremlin’s policies, and they should share in the pain,” President Biden said.
Media outlets reported dozens of casualties already after Russia reportedly targeted a series of Ukrainian sites with military firepower and cyberattacks.
President Biden’s speech came after the White House released a statement Thursday morning condemning the “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces,” adding that “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring.”
President Biden said he would meet with his G7 counterparts this morning. After that meeting, he plans to announce “further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose ”for Russia’s invasion.
The statement concluded, “Tonight Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.