State of the Union 2022: Biden Announces Ban of Russian Planes From U.S. Airspace

by Suzanne Halliburton

Joe Biden announced during tonight’s State of the Union that he’s banning Russian planes from American airspace as another sanction against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Several other countries also announced similar bans.

The Wall Street Journal was the first media outlet to report Biden’s plan, which he announced during his State of the Union speech. By tradition, Biden gave the annual speech to a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate.

The sanction is in line with airspace bans announced by Canada and the European Union. Russia has retaliated against those sanctions by implementing its own ban of aircraft.

WSJ reported that Aeroflot -Russian Airlines also halted all its flights to European cities. When Canada closed its airspace to Russian planes, Aeroflot said it would eliminate its trans-Atlantic routes. That included flights from the United States, Mexico and Cuba. However, Aeroflot officials said some flights starting in Mexico and the Dominican Republic would operate to allow Russian citizens to return home.

Major airline carriers in the United States don’t operate non-stop flights to Russian destinations. But American, United and Delta officials all announced they no longer would fly over Russia to get to other destinations.

However, the airspace bans will impact cargo flights. Cargo flights from North America to and from Asia fly over Russia. The WSJ said this route accounts for 25 percent of global freight traffic.

Earlier in the day, Biden’s press office released portions of his prepared State of the Union speech. He said Putin needs to “pay a price” for its “premeditated” and “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine. His State of the Union speech also would address the Covid pandemic and his plans for curbing inflation.

In State of the Union, Biden Said Putin Needed to Pay a Price

“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.”

Biden opened his State of the Union by talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, was a special guest at the State of the Union. She sat next to First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden told Congress that Putin “badly miscalculated. He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over.”

“Putin is now isolated from the world more than he’s ever been,” Biden said, adding that the United States already has cut off Russia’s banks, making Putin’s $630 billion war fund “worthless.”

Biden also used his State of the Union speech to promise that the United States would defend “every inch of NATO territory, every single inch.” He said he would use “every tool at our disposal to protect the American economy.

“I want you to know, we’re going to be OK,” Biden said, adding that history will show that the invasion “left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.”