© Bloomberg. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Biden is addressing the situation in Ukraine, with the U.S. expected to announce new sanctions after the European Union and the U.K. set out an initial set of penalties targeting Moscow.
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden plans to say the U.S. and its allies were prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said that “dictators” must pay a price for their aggression.
In his first State of the Union address whose domestic focus has been largely overtaken by the war in Europe, Biden will say that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war was premeditated and unprovoked.”
Noting that Russia thought he would divide Europe and the U.S., Biden declared, “Putin was wrong. We were ready,” according to excerpts of his speech released by the White House.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, was invited to the address, in a high-profile display of solidarity.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” he will say.
Looming over Biden’s domestic woes are fears that the war in Ukraine could spiral into a wider conflict. Biden during the campaign said his decades of foreign policy experience made him best equipped to guide America’s role in the world. But the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan shook the public’s confidence in his leadership.
Biden’s speech, however, still focuses largely on domestic worries as his administration prepares for midterm elections this fall that favor the Republican Party.
The speech, Biden’s second to a joint session of Congress, comes at a perilous moment for his presidency. Most Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the direction of the pandemic-weary country and state of the economy, and harbor doubts about his leadership and that of and his fellow Democrats, polls show.
He plans to unveil a new economic plan after his earlier proposal was rejected by Republicans and enough Democrats to doom it. “We have a choice,” Biden plans to say. “One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer. I have a better plan to fight inflation.”
He called for measures to boost U.S. manufacturing, shore up supply chains, promote renewable energy sources and reduce the federal budget deficit. Those items appeared to be aimed at moderates like West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin whose opposition to Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better agenda effectively killed the social spending plan.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.