(This March 1 story has been refiled to delete extraneous word in paragraph one)
By Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed that Russia’s Vladimir Putin will pay dearly over the long run for his invasion of Ukraine, even if his military campaign succeeds in the short term.
“While he may make gains on the battlefield – he will pay a continuing high price over the long run,” Biden said in his State of the Union address. Straying from the prepared text, Biden added “He has no idea what’s coming.” He did not elaborate.
Biden spoke to Congress on the sixth day of Russia’s invasion of its European neighbor and as Kyiv stared down a miles-long armored Russian column potentially preparing to take over the Ukrainian capital, and the U.S. and a growing group of allies tighten sanctions.
In the prime time speech, Biden announced a new step banning Russian flights from using American airspace and a Justice Department effort to seize the yachts, luxury apartments and private jets of wealthy Russians with ties to Putin.
He also signaled steps to hobble Russia’s military in the future, even as he acknowledged it could improve its position in Ukraine.
“We are choking off Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come,” he said.
“When the history of this era is written Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” he said.
Biden, who spoke earlier in the day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has rejected direct U.S. military participation on the ground in Ukraine.
But the U.S. government has shared intelligence on Russia’s operations and led the world in imposing a historic set of economic sanctions on Putin’s government, allies and the country’s largest banks, sending the currency into freefall.
Nearly a week since Russian troops poured over the border, they have not captured any major Ukrainian cities after running into fiercer resistance than they expected.
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)