Feb 7, 2023
Biden Calls Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine a ‘Test for the Ages’
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a test that the US and its NATO allies had passed, and vowed again to stand with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as long as needed.
“Putin’s invasion has been a test for the ages, a test for America, a test for the world,” Biden said Tuesday night in his State of the Union address to Congress. “Such a defense matters to us because it keeps the peace and prevents open season” for “would-be aggressors to threaten our security and prosperity.”
With Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, watching from the gallery, Biden said the US was united in its support for Ukraine almost a year after Russia’s invasion began, even as some Republican lawmakers have called for scaling back assistance or applying stricter oversight that could slow the distribution of weapons and aid.
Biden stopped short of announcing new tariffs on Russian aluminum now under consideration with his administration. A decision on those new fees – designed to further constrict the economy of the world’s second-largest aluminum exporter – could come within days, according to people familiar with the situation.
Read more: US Plans 200% Tariff on Russia Aluminum as Soon as This Week
With a thin Republican majority in the lower chamber, the prospects of a long-term reduction in US aid have grown.
Americans remain largely supportive of efforts to assist Ukraine. Nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed last month by Gallup say they prefer supporting Ukraine in reclaiming its territory, versus just 31% who would like to see the conflict ended quickly even if it meant conceding land to Russia.
Biden’s aides said ahead of his speech that the president wanted to highlight the multinational push to help Ukraine, which has seen coordinated efforts to sanction Russia, impose new export controls and provide Kyiv with weapons and ammunition. In the end he devoted a few minutes to the issue, saying the US had “united NATO and built a global coalition.”
The push comes as the White House has sought to assure Ukraine — and fellow allies – that support will continue to flow freely despite Republicans taking a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers passed funding legislation that included around $47 billion for Ukraine-related assistance at the end of last year, which the White House has said should cover needs in the short term.
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