Biden Shows Putin Who Is Boss During Speech To Naval Academy

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President Joe Biden is standing by the struggle of the Ukrainian people against the violent regime of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (If Trump was president now, the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine could easily be imagined as dramatically different.) During a Friday speech to the U.S. Naval Academy’s class of 2022, Biden rhetorically tore into Putin, laying out the facts of the Russian leader’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen how interconnected the world is,” Biden said. “The deadly pandemic has impacted not just our own schooling, but almost every aspect of our lives… And Putin’s brutal, brutal war in Ukraine: Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he’s literally trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people, attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other purpose [other] than to eliminate a culture. A direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule-based international order. That’s what you’re graduating into. That’s the world in which ensigns and second lieutenants — a world that more than ever requires strong, principled, engaged American leadership; where America leads not only by the example of its power, but the power of its example.”

“Think of why most nations agreed to support us,” Biden added. “It’s the example — it’s the example we set.” Biden also referenced the push by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Biden characterized Putin’s stance towards Europe as seeking to “make it all neutral,” meaning nearby countries wouldn’t be militarily allied with, for instance, NATO. “Instead, he “NATOized” all of Europe,” Biden said of Putin. The U.S. is in support of the ambitions of Sweden and Finland to become members of NATO, although the process remains ongoing. In the meantime, the U.S. has continued to roll out substantial levels of assistance for the Ukrainian defense. Biden just recently signed $40 billion worth of additional aid tied to the war, including — per CNBC — $20 billion of defense assistance (including various weapons), $8 billion in broad-based economic aid, $5 billion to deal with potential global food shortages related to conditions in Ukraine, and over $1 billion to assist in the care of refugees — millions and millions of whom have fled Ukraine throughout the conflict.

In Ukraine, those defending the country have obtained high-profile successes against Russian troops, who Ukrainians kept from taking over Kyiv, the country’s capital, earlier in the war, and who the Ukrainians more recently substantially pushed back from near Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. Russian forces are attempting to take full control of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine, areas that include Mariupol, where a long-lasting stand-off between Russian forces and Ukrainian troops fighting at the city’s large Azovstal steel plant recently ended. In Mariupol alone, tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have died. “Russia has sent thousands of troops into the [Donbas] region, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces holding out in the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk,” BBC said on Thursday.