(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden addressed the nation Thursday after Russia declared war on Ukraine and deployed military forces to invade the neighboring nation.
Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion, saying that “right now” there is there is a “complete rupture” in Russia-U.S. relations. He also said that Putin has ambitions beyond Ukraine, in restoring the old Soviet Union.
“America stands up to bullies,” Biden said in his remarks. “We stand up for freedom. This is who we are.”
The military effort comes after weeks of anticipation and geopolitical maneuvering between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and NATO nations.
“If Russia pursues cyber attacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we will respond,” he added.
Biden went on to say the U.S. and NATO allies have readied their forces to defend NATO member countries in the region. NATO countries that border Ukraine include Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.
“Our forces are not going to fight in Ukraine but to defend our NATO allies and defend those allies in the east,” Biden said. “There is no doubt that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article 5 commitments, which say that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
Biden touted the impact of U.S. economic measures to respond to Russia’s aggression after Russian currency and stocks plummeted Thursday. Biden said the U.S. is adding the names of “Russian elites” to the list of those facing financial consequences.
“These are people that personally gain from the Kremlin’s policies, and they should share in the pain,” Biden said.
Media outlets reported dozens of casualties already after the Russia reportedly targeted a series of Ukrainian sites with military firepower and cyberattacks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged that the Ukrainian people will defend themselves from the attack.
Biden’s speech came after the White House released a statement Thursday morning condemning the “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces,” adding that “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring.”
Biden said he would meet with his “G7 counterparts” Friday morning. After that meeting, he will announce “further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose ” for Russia’s invasion.
The statement concluded, “Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.”