President Joe Biden predicted in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night that Russia will be diminished following its invasion of Ukraine and announced new actions against Vladimir Putin and his country.
“When the history of this era is written Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” Biden said in his address before a joint session of Congress.
Biden said the U.S. government is closing off American airspace to all Russian flights — “further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy.” The announcement had been expected following reports earlier Tuesday, and it represents a broadening for aviation restrictions as the West expands sanctions against Russia.
The president also said the Justice Department is putting together a task force to target the crimes of Russian oligarchs, saying the U.S. will join with European allies to seize yachts, luxury apartments and private jets purchased with ill-gotten gains.
In addition, Biden noted that the U.S. and 30 countries had agreed earlier Tuesday to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves, with half coming from American stockpiles in response to concerns about supply shortfalls due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The president’s remarks come as Russian forces have escalated their offensive in Ukraine’s urban areas, bombarding the central square in the country’s second biggest city and damaging Kyiv’s main TV tower in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called a blatant campaign of terror.
The S&P 500 stock index
has dropped 10% to date in 2022, as investors prepare for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in response to high inflation — and as they react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.