Biden: We are giving more than $1 billion in assistance to Ukraine
The US President assured that the sanctions against Moscow will not affect US economy.
In Joe Biden's first state of the union address delivered on Tuesday, two things were addressed with a bold accent: the situation between Ukraine and Russia, and the modernization of US infrastructure.
Opening his speech, he recognized the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, who has recently requested more weapons and aid to be sent to Ukraine, noting that Ukraine expects to soon run out of FIM-92 Stinger air defense missiles and FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Speaking of his administration's top priorities, Ukraine became the main topic of interest in Biden's speech. He reaffirmed plans to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia while providing multiple forms of assistance worth $1 billion.
"Together with our allies we are providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Military assistance. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance. We are giving more than $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine. And we will continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and to help ease their suffering," Biden said.
Although Ukraine will be receiving hefty assistance, Biden ruled out any present or future military participation in the conflict.
"Let me be clear, our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine," Biden said on Tuesday.
There was particular attention in the speech on the new package of sanctions against Moscow as Biden tried to convince Americans not to panic over them.
"And I know the news about what’s happening can seem alarming but I want you to know that we are going to be okay," Biden said.
Biden promised that the sanctions against Russia will not have negative impact on the US economy.
Read more: European Council: Sanctions against Russia will affect Europe
"I’m taking robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at Russia’s economy. And I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers," Biden noted.
Biden announced that the Justice Department, along with European allies, will be targeting Russian businessmen and their assets.
In addition to the sanctions, the US has joined European states in closing its airspace to Russian flights as part of its campaign of maximum pressure on its economy.
Wishful thinking of outbuilding
American infrastructure, according to Biden, should get a 'new life' especially after the US Senate recently passed a $1.75 trillion bill to modernize the US' roads, bridges, airports and more.
"America used to have the best roads, bridges, and airports on Earth. Now our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world. We won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century if we don’t fix that… And tonight, I’m announcing that this year we will start fixing over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair," Biden said.
Biden wishfully believes that the bill will allow the US to outpace China in terms of infrastructure.
Read more: China outpaces US in 5G technology by heaps
"It [infrastructure bill] is going to transform America and put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st Century that we face with the rest of the world - particularly with China," Biden said.
COVID-19 measures... post-pandemic
Biden expressed optimism regarding the situation post-pandemic in the US, saying that severe coronavirus cases have decreased from last July.
Read more: Biden's Approval Declines After COVID-19
Free rapid tests can be ordered and delivered to people's homes starting the coming week, satisfying some of the senators' demands voiced last month as they expressed dissatisfaction with Biden's strategy in dealing with the pandemic.
Democratic Representative Cori Bush, on Christmas Eve 2021, tweeted “Every single person in this country should receive free, at-home, rapid testing and high-quality N95/KN95 masks. No matter your insurance status. No matter your income level. No matter where you live."
In terms of testing supplies and equipment, press secretary for the White House Jen Psaki said that the administration was “not where we needed to be.”
Furthermore, the US president did not rule out that more variants may appear, while reassuring that new vaccines could be released in 100 days in case it's needed.
"We must prepare for new variants. Over the past year, we’ve gotten much better at detecting new variants. If necessary, we’ll be able to deploy new vaccines within 100 days instead of many more months or years."