Biden announces US will close its skies to Russian aircraft
In his State of the Union speech, Biden announced that the US would close its skies to Russian aircraft while promising more sanctions against Russia.
Foreign policy has been a major topic in US President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address at the US Capitol building, as the US continues its pressure campaign against Russia over the situation in Ukraine.
The 46th US president has taken a tough stance against Moscow while also flexing NATO unity.
Russian flights will no longer be permitted in US airspace as Washington continues to take aggressive measures to counter Moscow's recent military actions in Ukraine, according to Biden's SOTU.
“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," he stressed.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration has also stated that orders prohibiting Russian aircraft and airlines from entering and using American airspace will go into effect by Wednesday.
The directive applies to all aircraft owned, certified, operated, registered, chartered, leased, or controlled by (or for the benefit of) any Russian citizen. Passenger and cargo planes are among the flights prohibited, "effectively closing US air space to all Russian commercial air carriers and other Russian civil aircraft," the memo added.
"He has no idea what's coming," Biden said of Putin, stressing that the Russian economy is "reeling".
Furthermore, the US president stated unequivocally that US forces will not engage in armed conflict within Ukraine because they are stationed in Europe to assist NATO allies. Biden stated that US forces would only take up arms if NATO allies were attacked by Russian forces pushing further west.
Biden also publicly announced that the United States and its allies have agreed to release 60 million barrels of crude oil from strategic petroleum reserves – with the United States committing to 30 million barrels.
"Together, along with our allies, we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions," he said.
The upcoming restrictions on US airspace are similar to those implemented by European and Canadian authorities. The EU decision came as a part of other sanctions imposed against Russia, including the purchase and delivery of weapons to Ukrainian forces.
The #West is, once again, using economic sanctions to smother nations whose actions do not align with their imperialist plans.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 1, 2022
The Central Bank of #Russia announced that its financial infrastructure will work with no hindrances.#Ukraine #RussiaUkraine pic.twitter.com/zWApev2Adk
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, on Sunday, that "Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane—and that includes the private jets of oligarchs."
Following the EU bloc's decision on prohibiting the Russian planes from using its airspace, Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsiya, announced, on Monday, that Russia has closed its airspace to airlines of 36 countries.
The agency's statement read, "In accordance with the norms of international law, as a response to the ban of European states on flights of civil aircraft operated by Russian air carriers and/or registered in Russia, a restriction on flights of air carriers of 36 states has been introduced."
Flights from the said 36 countries will not be allowed to enter the Russian airspace except with a special permit that Rosaviatsiya or the Russian Foreign Ministry issues.