During his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, had been mistaken in thinking he could invade Ukraine with little opposition from the Ukrainian people or the international community.
“Six days ago, Russia’s Vladimir Putin sought to shake the foundations of the free world thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways,” Biden said near the beginning of his speech. “But he badly miscalculated.”
“He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined,” Biden continued. “He met the Ukrainian people.”
“From [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy] to every Ukrainian, their fearlessness, their courage, their determination, inspires the world,” Biden said. “Groups of citizens blocking tanks with their bodies. Everyone from students to retirees teachers turned soldiers defending their homeland.”
For the last week, the Ukrainian military and thousands of civilian volunteers have taken up arms in an effort to stop Russia’s invasion. While Russia has inflicted deaths and heavy damage throughout Ukraine, it has also sustained its own heavy losses. In a speech on Wednesday, Zelenskyy said nearly 6,000 Russian troops have died in the fighting so far, not including the most recent losses from overnight fighting.
“Think of this number: almost 6,000 Russians died. Russian military. In six days of war,” Zelenskyy said. “This is without counting the losses of the enemy last night. Six thousand. To get what? Get Ukraine? It is impossible.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said thus far, Russia has also lost 30 warplanes, 31 helicopters, 211 tanks, nine air defense systems, 40 mobile multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), 862 infantry mobility vehicles and 415 other vehicles.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos,” Biden said Tuesday night. “They keep moving. And the costs and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”
“That’s why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War 2,” Biden added. “The United States is a member along with 29 other nations. It matters. American diplomacy matters. American resolve matters.”
While the U.S. and other NATO allies have not joined in the fighting on Ukraine’s behalf, the U.S. and other nations shipped hundreds of tons of defensive equipment to Ukraine in the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion. Weapons shipments included systems like Javelin and NLAW anti-tank missiles, which have been seen in action in the fighting against Russia’s armored columns.
“[Putin] thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond,” Biden said. “And he thought he could divide us at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready. Here is what we did. We prepared extensively and carefully. We spent months building a coalition of other freedom-loving nations from Europe and the Americas to Asia and Africa to confront Putin. I spent countless hours unifying our European allies. We shared with the world in advance what we knew Putin was planning and precisely how he would try to falsely justify his aggression. We countered Russia’s lies with truth. And now that he has acted the free world is holding him accountable.”