State of the Union: Emotional scenes as President Biden thanks Ukrainian ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova
President Biden has thanked Ukrainian ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova – who was Dr Jill Biden’s guest of honour at the State of the Union.
Mr Biden vowed "an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny" as he praised the Ukrainian people amid the ongoing conflict and aggression from Russia.
Democrats and Republicans reacted to Mr Biden's appeal to show support for Ukraine by rising in unison to applaud.
In his address to lawmakers the Democratic president hit out at Vladimir Putin and his actions in Ukraine. He said: "Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked. He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy.
"He thought the West and Nato wouldn't respond. And he thought he could divide us here at home."
“President Putin thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.”
President Biden said as well as closing its airspace to all Russian flights, the US was assembling a task force to “find and seize their yachts and luxury apartments (and) their private jets”.
Mr Biden went on: “The free world is holding (Mr Putin) accountable along with 27 members of the European Union… as well as countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many others. Even Switzerland are inflicting pain on Russia (and) supporting the people of Ukraine.
“Putin is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been. Together with our allies, we are right now enforcing powerful economic sanctions: We’re cutting off Russia’s largest bank to the international financial system… (and) choking Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic threat and weaken its military for years to come.
“Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime… We’re coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces fired at the Kyiv TV tower and Ukraine’s main Holocaust memorial in an attack that killed five people and left five more wounded.
The memorial at Babi Yar, a ravine in Kyiv, is where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in 1941 when the city was under Nazi occupation.