President Biden in his first State of the Union address of his presidency announced that the United States will ban Russian aircraft from American airspace, broadening aviation restrictions as the West expands sanctions after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
“Tonight, I’m announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,” Biden said.
Following Biden’s announcement, the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration issued the official orders banning Russian “commercial air carriers and civil” aircraft and airlines from entering and using U.S airspace. The order is slated to take full effect by the end of day Wednesday.
“The United States stands with our allies across the world in responding to Putin’s unprovoked aggression against the people of Ukraine,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the statement announcing the order.
The move is the latest retaliatory measure levied against Putin for launching an unprovoked full-scale invasion into Ukraine.
The U.S joins a growing number of countries that closed their skies to Russia. Canada and the European Union closed off their airspace to Russian aircraft over the past weekend. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the entire EU would close off its airspace to Russian planes. Several European countries, including Germany, France, and Italy — had already done so before the EU announcement.
“We will join our allies in closing off American air space to all Russian flights – further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze – on their economy,” Biden said.
Along with the sweeping order, the U.S. and Western nations have imposed harsh and crippling sanctions on Moscow’s financial institutions and the central bank that can hurt Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to finance the war against Ukraine. The actions of the Kremlin leader have resulted in multiple companies across the world removing their business and products from selling in Russia.
The move was met with Putin retaliating against by canceling flights from European airlines over Russian territory.
Biden opened his first State of the Union address directly condemning Putin over his “badly miscalculated” invasion of Ukraine. The president received a loud standing ovation from lawmakers of both sides of the aisles when he voiced solidarity for the Ukrainian people while vowing to make Putin pay for its “premeditated and totally unprovoked” attack on Ukraine.
“We are inflicting pain on Russia and supporting the people of Ukraine. Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever,” Biden said as Congressional members, many of whom donned blue and yellow ensembles, the color of the Ukraine flag.
“Together with our allies –we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions. We are cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system,” Biden added. “And we will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering… Putin has unleashed violence and chaos. But while he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run.”