US President Joe Biden had an ominous warning for Russian President Vladimir Putin during his State of the Union address.
Speaking on Tuesday night (local time), Biden announced the US would ban Russian flights from entering US airspace.
"I am announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding an additional squeeze on their economy," he said.
"He has no idea what's coming," he added in reference to Putin.
The order comes after Russia invaded Ukraine last week. Since then, Russian forces have repeatedly attacked cities all across Ukraine, leaving civilians dead.
The US Department of Transportation and its Federal Aviation Administration released a statement regarding the new orders, saying they will be enforced as of March 2 (local time).
The order has effectively closed US airspace to Russian commercial flights and civil aircraft.
“The United States stands with our allies and partners across the world in responding to Putin’s unprovoked aggression against the people of Ukraine,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
In a show of unity, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, joined first lady Jill Biden in the House gallery for Biden's speech.
US to go after Russian oligarchs
Biden said while Putin might be able to "make gains on the battlefield" as he unleashed "violence and chaos", in the long run, Russia will pay the price.
He also said the Justice Department was launching a task force to go after Russian oligarchs, whom he called “corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime”.
“We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he said, pledging that the US and European allies were after their yachts, luxury apartments and private jets.
The president acknowledged there would be a cost to the American economy.
However, he warned that not enforcing sanctions would result in Putin's aggression extending beyond Ukraine.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden said.
“They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”
As Biden spoke, Russian forces were escalating their attacks in Ukraine, having bombarded the central square of the country’s second-biggest city and Kyiv’s main TV tower, killing at least five people.
The Babi Yar Holocaust memorial was also damaged.
Russia said earlier it would launch targeted attacks on the infrastructure used by Ukrainian intelligence service SBU.
Another air raid siren sounded across the city on Tuesday afternoon and Mayor Vitali Klitschko described the situation as "threatening".
"The enemy wants to conquer the heart of our country. But we will fight and not give up Kyiv," he wrote on Telegram.
With Reuters and Associated Press
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