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Latest Developments in Ukraine: Feb. 8

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak walk, as they hold a news conference at an army camp, in Dorset county, Britain, Feb. 8, 2023.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. All times EST.

11:30 p.m.: The White House on Wednesday dismissed a blog post by a U.S. investigative journalist alleging the United States was behind explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines as "utterly false and complete fiction," Reuters reported.

Reuters has not corroborated the report, published by U.S. investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, which said an attack was carried out last September at the direction of President Joe Biden.

"This is utterly false and complete fiction," said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council. Spokespeople for the CIA and State Department said the same.

The pipelines are multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects designed to carry Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Sweden and Denmark have concluded the pipelines were blown up deliberately but have not said who might be responsible.

On Wednesday, Russia's foreign ministry said the United States had questions to answer over its role in explosions on the pipelines.

10:45 p.m.: Russia hit dozens of U.S. politicians and officials with sanctions on Wednesday in what it said was a retaliatory move for Washington's support for Kyiv and a response to the West's own unprecedented package of sanctions against Moscow, Reuters reported.

Russia's foreign ministry said it was permanently barring 77 U.S. citizens from entering Russia, as it attacked Washington's "hostile actions."

The list is made up of 33 governors of U.S. states and a host of other mid-ranking state and federal officials.

The United States and its allies, including Britain and the European Union, have added hundreds of members of Russia's political and business elites to their own sanctions lists since Moscow invaded Ukraine last February.

10 p.m.: Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will meet Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday in Brussels on the sidelines of a European Council meeting, a government source told Reuters.

The two leaders will hold a bilateral meeting, the source said, as EU leaders meet for a two-day gathering to discuss migration and competitiveness issues.

Meloni said last week she planned to visit Kyiv before the February 24 anniversary marking a year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Italy has recently finalized technical talks for the delivery, together with France, of a SAMP/T-MAMBA air defense system to Kyiv in the spring.

9:19 p.m.: The British government on Wednesday announced a fresh round of sanctions targeting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the new sanctions on organizations that Russian President Vladimir Putin's military relied on would "accelerate the economic pressure on Putin — undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail."

The sanctions package, announced as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the U.K., would hit six organizations providing military equipment such as drones.

It would also target eight individuals and one organization connected to "nefarious financial networks that help maintain wealth and power amongst Kremlin elites", the government said in a statement.

8:22 p.m.: Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters on Wednesday addressed the U.N. Security Council at Russia's invitation, condemning Moscow's invasion of its neighbor as illegal — though adding he believed it was provoked — and calling for a cease-fire, Reuters reported.

"He is lucky to be in New York, in a free country, speak his mind, say whatever he likes, including about the Russian aggression and how wrong that is. If he had been in Russia, with what he said, he might have been in custody by now," Albania's U.N. Ambassador Ferit Hoxha told the 15-member Security Council.

Soon after Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia introduced tough new laws on spreading "misinformation" about the war or discrediting the Russian army. Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy rejected Hoxha's remarks on Wednesday, saying his country respects freedom of speech.

Russia called the Security Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and asked Waters to brief. Waters argued against the Western supply of weapons to Kyiv in a letter that he published on his website in September.

The deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, acknowledged Waters' "impressive credentials as a recording artist," but said his qualifications to speak on arms control or European security issues were "less evident."

7:39 p.m.: Poland summoned the Belarusian charge d'affaires on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing a foreign ministry spokesman, after a journalist of Polish origin was sentenced to eight years in prison in what Warsaw says was a politically motivated verdict.

Andrzej Poczobut was sentenced for "instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism" after being arrested in March 2021, Polish state-run news agency PAP reported.

"The politically motivated show trial and today's verdict are a clear testimony to the anti-Polish actions of the Belarusian authorities," the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement. "We denounce the unjust sentence handed down by the court of an authoritarian state."

The Belarusian embassy in Warsaw could not immediately be reached for comment.

The already tense relations between Warsaw and Minsk have been further strained by Belarusian ally Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

6:55 p.m.: Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Wednesday said he believed Berlin and its allies would be able to send a first battalion of Leopard 2 tanks to war-torn Ukraine by April, Agence France-Presse reported.

"I think we could deliver at least one battalion in the first four months of this year. Three months maybe," he told reporters while on a visit to Warsaw.

"And then we have to proceed as fast as possible of course," he added, as the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine looms.

Pistorius specified that he was talking about a "Ukrainian battalion, that means 31 tanks" and added subsequent battalions would follow later this year and next.

Earlier Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it was clear that Russia would not win the war and assured Ukraine its future was in the EU.

6:32 p.m.: The United Kingdom will explore the possibility of sending fighter jets to Ukraine, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Downing Street office said Wednesday.

"The prime minister has tasked the defense secretary with investigating what jets we might be able to give but, to be clear, this is a long-term solution rather than a short-term capability, which is what Ukraine needs most now," Sunak's spokesman said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The announcement came shortly after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Sunak and urged U.K. politicians to send jets to his war-battered country during a visit to London.

Sunak's office warned that training Ukraine pilots to use state-of-the-art British jets would be a long process.

"We are keen to do whatever is possible to get these pilots trained up as fast as possible," said the spokesman. "But these are complex pieces of military equipment and... the current training period for UK pilots is around five years."

5:51 p.m.:

5 p.m.: Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of failing to issue visas to Russian delegates to the United Nations and of restricting the movements of its diplomats and said it would pursue arbitration proceedings, Reuters reported.

In an interview with the RIA news agency, Russian foreign ministry official Pyotr Ilyichev said the United States had failed to comply with the 1947 U.N. Headquarters Agreement, which prohibits most restrictions on diplomats' access to the United Nations.

"The U.S. is raising increasing doubts about the validity of its right to retain its status as host state for the U.N Headquarters," Ilyichev said. "This is about the unjustified non-issuance of visas to delegates to participate in U.N. events and restrictions on the movements of foreign diplomats," he added.

4:20 p.m.: As Russia’s targeted attacks on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure continue, Ukraine is forced to rethink its energy future. While inventing ways to quickly restore and improve the resilience of its energy system, Ukraine is also looking for green energy solutions. VOA’s Anna Chernikova has the story from Irpin, one of the hardest-hit areas of the Kyiv region.

3:17 p.m.: The U.S. Treasury Department plans to lift sanctions imposed on the former Russian Sberbank subsidiary in Kazakhstan, Bereke Bank, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday.

The U.S. Treasury Department said on February 7 that it will lift the sanctions on March 6. Kazakhstan's state-owned Baiterek financial holding group bought the Sberbank's Kazakh subsidiary in August 2022.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the subsidiary in February 2022 in response to Russia's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

2:30 p.m.: A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reporter was interviewing a Ukrainian soldier in Bakhmut when a Russian bomb hit a neighboring house. His dramatic footage captures what happened next: frantic battlefield first aid to save a man's life.

2:00 p.m.: Portugal is repairing some its Leopard 2 tanks and will send three to war-torn Ukraine next month, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The announcement came after Costa said on Saturday the southern European nation was in talks with Germany to obtain parts needed to repair inoperable Leopard tanks in Portugal's inventory.

"Right now we are implementing the recovery and maintenance plan for the Leopard 2 tanks and, according to the plan, we are in a position to be able to send three of them in March," Costa told parliament.

1:45 p.m.: First, the Ukrainian president flew overhead on his way to Washington. Then on Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy flew overhead to Britain. And then to Paris. Fourth time lucky? He might stop by the European Union headquarters where the bloc’s leaders meet on Thursday — security concerns permitting, The Associated Press reported.

Almost a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with tens of billions of euros in EU aid committed, nine packages of sanctions, military hardware and almost monthly visits to Kyiv, the 27-nation bloc looks set to finally get the political man of the moment on its home turf.

Even if the novelty of the Ukraine leader traveling outside his war-torn country has somewhat worn off, the meeting with his 27 counterparts, top EU officials and legislators in Brussels is packed with political symbolism.

“If President Zelenskyy has chosen to come it is because he has an interest,” said a diplomat from a major EU nation. “Here he can address the leaders who have made the most important efforts since the war started,” added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the visit had not been officially announced yet.

The EU is in the midst of brokering a new sanctions package worth some 10 billion euros ahead of the February 24 one-year anniversary of the war. And there is still plenty of scope for exporting more military hardware to Ukraine as a Russian spring offensive is expected.​

1:25 p.m.:

​1:05 p.m.: Talk of a crackdown on corruption and a new effort to cut powerful tycoons down to size seems to sweep through Ukraine every year, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

But the prospects for substantive change tend to melt away like snow in springtime, leaving a barren landscape that’s all too familiar to reform advocates both inside and outside the country.

So, it’s no surprise that a slew of high-level dismissals and headlines on corruption investigations have left some observers skeptical that it will amount to substance more than show.

But with Ukraine in the grips of a devastating Russian bid to subjugate the country by force, the stakes for the government to stamp out a problem that has hampered its development since independence in 1991 are higher than ever before, experts say.

Like the war itself, it is now an existential issue for Ukraine, some analysts say.

12:50 p.m.: Russia's embassy to Britain on Wednesday warned London against sending fighter jets to Ukraine, saying such a move would have serious military and political ramifications for the entire world, Reuters reported, quoting the TASS news agency.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in London on Wednesday, where he called on Britain to give Ukraine fighter jets as the next stage in the West's supplies of weapons to help Kyiv fight off the Russian invasion.

Britain said it would start training Ukrainian pilots in how to fly advanced NATO-standard fighter jets, but has not yet pledged to send planes.

In a statement cited by Russian state news agencies, the Russian embassy said the "bloodshed, next round of escalation and resulting military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world", that would come about from the sending of advanced fighter jets to Ukraine would be on London's conscience.

12:30 p.m.:

12:10 p.m.: Ukrainian tennis player and Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina pushed for a total ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Paris Games in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Svitolina, who won her bronze medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, is visiting Ukraine for the first time since Russia invaded the country last year. She is the latest to call for a complete ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus because of the war.

“It’s going to be very sad, and the wrong message would be sent to the world if Olympics going to stay with the decision to put them [Russia and Belarus] under a neutral flag,” Svitolina said in the interview. “I don’t think this is the right decision.”

Svitolina, who had a baby with husband Gael Monfils in October, said sports and politics in Russia are inseparable. “You can see that in Russia, sports are connected to the government,” Svitolina said.

11:45 a.m.: The International Olympic Committee pushed back against the mayor of Paris on Wednesday, insisting there were no plans for “a Russian or Belarusian delegation” at the 2024 Games while also acknowledging that some athletes from those countries could be welcomed, The Associated Press reported.

The IOC statement came a day after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said no Russians or Belarusians should be allowed to compete at next year’s Olympics because of their involvement in the war in Ukraine. “It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine,” Hidalgo said Tuesday.

Olympic leaders have set out a path for athletes from Russia and Belarus who have not actively supported the war to try to qualify and compete as “neutral athletes” without a national identity such as team uniforms, flags and anthems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, along with many sports leaders and athletes, have consistently said all potential competitors from Russia or Belarus should be banned from Paris, extending a decision that was applied in most Olympic sports within days of the war starting last February.

Olympic bodies and lawmakers in the Baltic and Nordic regions of Europe have also publicly supported Ukraine in standing against the IOC’s preferred route. They have warned of a possible boycott, and are expected to join an online call of sports ministers Friday hosted by the British government.

11:25 a.m.: Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from the Olympic Games, saying any medals they win in Paris next year would be tainted by the blood of his countrymen who have died in Russia's year-old invasion, Reuters reported.

Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Games over the IOC's willingness to let athletes from Russia and its close ally Belarus return to international competition for the 2024 Games, albeit as neutrals without national flags or anthems.

Russians have competed as neutrals in the past three Olympics as punishment for state-backed doping, but Ukraine hopes to secure widespread international support for banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Paris Olympics.

"I am a Ukrainian athlete. I won an Olympic gold in boxing in 2012. I am the current world heavyweight champion," Usyk said in a statement addressing IOC President Thomas Bach.

11:05 a.m.: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Twitter Wednesday by United 24, the charitable organization he launched in support of the country, underscoring his argument that the International Olympic Committee should not allow Russian athletes to participate in the Paris Olympics. He called for Ukraine’s partners to join him in opposing Russian athletes’ participation in the games.

10:40 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will ask a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday for more arms to fight Russia and powering ahead with Kyiv's bid to join the EU, Reuters reported, quoting a senior Ukrainian official.

Zelenskyy visited Britain on Wednesday, winning a pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets, and was expected in the European Union hub Brussels on Thursday for talks among the 27 national leaders of the bloc.

"My president travels to get results," said the Ukrainian official Wednesday. "He is on a foreign trip today. First and foremost, the main result is - weapons.... We need the support of the European Council to speed up arms deliveries to Ukraine."

10:05 a.m.: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is flying to Paris to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to German government sources, Reuters reported.

Macron will host the meeting between the three leaders in the French capital on Wednesday, the French presidency said.

German broadcaster ntv had first reported Scholz's trip, citing unnamed sources.

9:45 a.m.:

9:25 a.m.: In his State of the Union speech, U.S. President Joe Biden said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine "has been a test for the ages" and suggested that the West had passed, at least for the time being. The test will continue — and it could get tougher, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said in its new analysis.

Speaking almost a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on February 24, 2022, Biden said the "murderous assault" had raised a stark question: "Would we stand for the most basic of principles?" he asked, including "sovereignty," the "right of people to live free from tyranny," and "the defense of democracy."

"One year later, we know the answer," he said. "Yes, we would. And yes, we did."

Past tense. When it comes to the future, Biden provided fewer details, assuring Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova that "America is united in our support for your country. We will stand with you as long as it takes."

It may take a long time.

9:10 a.m.: Ukraine will use all international legal mechanisms to try to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin to justice for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over east Ukraine in 2014, Reuters reported, quoting Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin.

"The difficulty of obtaining evidence and functional immunity do not allow prosecuting the president of the RF [Russian Federation] in national courts," Kostin wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "We will seek to employ all the existing international legal mechanisms to bring him to justice."

International prosecutors said they had found "strong indications" that Putin approved the use in Ukraine of a Russian missile system that shot down MH17, but that evidence of his involvement was not concrete enough to lead to a criminal conviction.

8:50 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed for fighter jets to ensure his country’s victory over Russia in a dramatic speech before the U.K. Parliament, where he also thanked the British people for their support since “Day One” of Moscow’s invasion, The Associated Press reported.

Hundreds of lawmakers and parliamentary staff packed the 900-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest — and unheated — part of Parliament for Zelenskyy’s speech. It was only his second confirmed journey outside Ukraine since Russia invaded nearly a year ago.

Zelenskyy, wearing his trademark olive drab sweatshirt, urged allies to send his country jets, saying combat aircraft would be “wings for freedom.” He brought a gift of a Ukrainian Air Force helmet, inscribed by a Ukrainian pilot with the phrase: “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”

The president, who planned to meet later with King Charles III, noted that the British monarch was a qualified military pilot. “The king is an Air Force pilot,” Zekenskyy said, and “in Ukraine today, every Air Force pilot is a king.”

In past wars, “evil lost,” Zekenskyy told lawmakers. “We know Russia will lose and we know victory will change the world.″

He also called for stronger sanctions against Moscow, until “Russia is deprived of any possibility to finance this war.”

He said he was speaking on behalf of the brave people of his own country — and thanked Britons for their bravery. “London has stood with Kyiv since Day One,” he said, handing over a combat helmet as a thank you to Britain.

8:05 a.m.:

8:00 a.m.: An international team of investigators has suspended its criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, saying they have insufficient evidence to launch any new prosecutions, The Associated Press reported.

Dutch prosecutor Digna van Boetzelaer said Wednesday that “the investigation has now reached its limit. All leads have been exhausted” as the team began laying out the evidence it uncovered in its long-running investigation.

Dutch prosecutors said in their summary of findings that “there are strong indications that the Russian president decided on supplying” a Buk missile system to Ukrainian separatists. A Buk system was used to bring down MH17 on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

However, “Although a lot of new information has been discovered about various people involved, the evidence is at the moment not concrete enough to lead to new prosecutions,” they added.

Russia has always denied any involvement in the downing of MH17.

The announcement comes nearly three months after a Dutch court convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian rebel for their roles in shooting down the Boeing 777 and killing all 298 people on board on July 17, 2014. One Russian was acquitted by the court.

7:40 a.m.:

7:25 a.m.: Britain announced an immediate surge of military deliveries to Ukraine to help it fend off an intensifying Russian offensive and pledged to train its pilots as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on a rare visit abroad, Reuters reported.

London was Zelenskyy's first stop on only his second trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 after a visit to the United States in December. He is due to travel onto Brussels on Thursday where the European Union is holding a summit.

Greeted by Sunak on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street to applause from onlookers inside and outside the British prime minister's office, Zelenskyy thanked Britain for its support "from the first days of the full-scale invasion".

"Thank you so much, we are proud, really, and have very good relations with Rishi," Zelenskyy said.

The meeting was short, with Sunak quickly arriving in parliament to attend the weekly prime minister's questions.

Zelenskyy, who had close ties with ex-prime minister Boris Johnson, visits Britain at a time when Russia is bringing tens of thousands of recently mobilized troops to the battlefield to try to break through Ukrainian defenses in eastern Ukraine. Since Johnson resigned last year, Sunak has pledged to continue to support Ukraine, visiting Kyiv in November to tell the Ukrainian leader: "We are with you all the way."

7:05 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in the United Kingdom for talks with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, his second known trip abroad since Russia's unprovoked invasion of his country one year ago.

Sunak’s office said Zelenskyy will visit Ukrainian troops training in Britain on February 8 and address the British Parliament. Additionally, Buckingham Palace said Zelenskyy would meet with King Charles.

Sunak will announce expanded training for the Ukrainian military, including training for fighter jet pilots and marines. The training for pilots would ensure they are able to fly NATO-standard fighters in the future, the statement said.

For months, Kyiv has been urging the West to increase its military support, including the possibility of providing fighter jets.

The United States, Britain, Germany, and other Western allies recently relented and approved sending hundreds of battle tanks, armored vehicles, and other heavy weaponry to Ukraine amid expectations that Russia is gearing up for a new major offensive, possibly as early as this month.

6:40 a.m.:

6:10 a.m.: Reuters reported that Estonia's intelligence service said on Wednesday it believed Russia still has the strength to exert "credible military pressure" on the Baltic region and that the security risk in the region has risen for the medium and long term.

"A military attack against Estonia is unlikely in 2023 because Russia's military capabilities are engaged in Ukraine," the Estonian service said in its annual report.

"However, in the mid-to-long term, Russia's belligerence and foreign policy ambitions have significantly increased the security risks for Estonia," it added.

NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have all sharply boosted defense spending in response to Russia's 2014 capture of Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine last year.

5:40 a.m.: Britain's King Charles will hold an audience with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, PA Media reported citing Buckingham Palace, according to Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

5:10 a.m.:

3:35 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Britain on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Sunak's office said, according to Reuters and The Associated Press.

This is Zelenskyy’s first trip to the U.K. since the war began and he plans to address Parliament. Zelenskyy will visit Ukrainian troops currently training in Britain.

Sunak's office announced plans to expand training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to sea and air — including fighter jet pilots and marines — and accelerate the supply of military equipment.

"President Zelenskyy's visit to the UK is a testament to his country's courage, determination and fight, and a testament to the unbreakable friendship between our two countries," Sunak said in the statement.

2:20 a.m.: Reuters reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that European Union moves to add what he called "exemptions" to its price cap on oil products showed that Russian oil was still in demand.

"Yesterday we saw another change to the European Union's regulations, the exemptions," he said in comments published by the state-run TASS news agency.

"This once again emphasizes that our oil products are in demand in Europe, once European politicians indicated that their actions defy any logic and take such decisions and think how to get out of this situation," he said.

The European Union said last week it agreed to set price caps on Russian refined oil products to limit Moscow's ability to finance its war in Ukraine.

At the same time, the EU introduced several exemptions to the way its price cap works.

It said in its latest guidance update that the price cap would no longer apply after crude oil or petroleum products were released for free circulation in a jurisdiction outside Russia and handed over to the landed purchaser.

The price cap no longer applies to Russian petroleum products when the blending operations in a third country "result in a tariff shift" or changes in the oil product type.

The West also imposed a ban on sea-borne Russian oil purchases in December and a price cap of $60 per barrel, which is still above the current price of Russia's flagship Urals crude blend.

1:55 a.m.:

12:55 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Biden "for the powerful words of support."

"We are grateful for U.S. leadership in helping Ukraine, for solidarity of the entire U.S. people," Zelenskyy tweeted Wednesday. "Our values are the same, our common goal is victory."

12:10 a.m.: U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday the United States is united in support for Ukraine as it opposes a Russian invasion, and that the U.S. will stand with Ukraine "as long as it takes."

Speaking during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Biden said government united NATO, built a global coalition and stood against the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United States and other NATO allies have provided billions of dollars in military aid, including air defense systems, to bolster Ukrainian forces. U.S. and European Union sanctions have also sought to impose a financial cost on Russia.

Biden noted that his address to lawmakers last year came days after Putin launched what Biden called a "brutal attack against Ukraine" and a test for the world.

"Would we stand for the most basic of principles? Would we stand for sovereignty? Would we stand for the right of people to live free from tyranny? Would we stand for the defense of democracy?" Biden asked.

Putin has criticized Western aid to Ukraine as being a threat against Russia, while saying Russia will prevail in Ukraine.

12:01 a.m.:

Some information in this report came from Reuters, Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.