“I am announcing tonight that we will join our allies in closing US airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional pressure to their economy,” the president said.
When asked if the Biden administration has been considering such a move in recent days, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the number of US flights flying over Russia to head to Asia and other parts of the world played a role in the decision.
In recent days, the State Department has encouraged Americans in Russia to consider leaving immediately while there are still commercial flights out of the country.
US officials believe there will still be ways for Americans to get out of Russia if Russian flights cannot come to the United States, citing options for trains outside the country as one possibility.
The United States joins Canada and the European Union in closing its airspace to Russian aircraft. Before European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the entire European Union would close its airspace to Russian aircraft, several European countries – including Germany, France and Italy – had already done so.
Following Biden’s announcement Tuesday night, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the official notice banning Russian aircraft from US airspace would be published Wednesday. This includes scheduled passenger flights as well as cargo and charter flights.
“The United States stands with our allies around the world in responding to Putin’s unjustified aggression against the people of Ukraine,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
The move is the latest retaliatory measure to be imposed on Putin for launching an unprovoked, all-out invasion of Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday condemned Russia for killing civilians in Ukraine, telling the United Nations Human Rights Council that Russian strikes “target schools, hospitals and apartment buildings.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of committing war crimes for its bombing of Kharkiv.
Last week, the president announced harsh new sanctions – including on Putin himself – and export controls aimed at imposing exorbitant costs on the Russian economy. The United States also announced that it would ban US dollar transactions with the Russian Central Bank and completely ban the Russian Direct Investment Fund to prevent Russia from easing some of the effects of the sanctions.
The White House – along with the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada – announced Saturday night that they are expelling some Russian banks from SWIFT, a high-security network that links thousands of financial institutions around the world. Globalism. In a major departure from its longtime neutrality, Switzerland has also announced that it will join the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The president is set to use his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to condemn Putin in strong terms and promote the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The president would summon Putin to start a war that was “premeditated and unprovoked,” according to excerpts of his speech provided by the White House.
Zelensky urged Biden to persuade Americans of the urgency and implications of the Russian invasion and reiterated calls for the United States and NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine or place soldiers on the ground. Ukrainian President Matthew Chance told CNN in an exclusive interview that he urged Biden to deliver a strong and “helpful” message about the Russian invasion in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Pete Montaigne contributed to this report.
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