WASHINGTON — First Lady Jill Biden joined other members of Congress in showing support for Ukrainians through clothing at President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address.
The first lady wore a blue dress with an embroidered appliqué of a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, on one sleeve. The White House said it was a sign of support for Ukrainians amid Russia's invasion.
Some members of Congress also illustrated support for Ukrainians with blue and yellow outfits. Amid other vicious disagreements, U.S. lawmakers have voiced rare bipartisan support for Ukrainians amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Along with nearly all of the most high-ranking members of the U.S. government, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. attended the event. Oksana Markarova was a guest of the first lady.
Biden declared that he and all members of Congress, whatever political differences there may be, were joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.” He asked the lawmakers crowding the House chamber to stand and salute the Ukrainians as he began his speech. They stood and cheered.
Biden highlighted the bravery of Ukrainian defenders and the commitment of a newly reinvigorated Western alliance that has worked to rearm the Ukrainian military and cripple Russia’s economy through sanctions. He warned of costs to the American economy, as well, but warned ominously that without consequences, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression wouldn’t be contained to Ukraine.
“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.”
As Biden spoke, Russian forces were escalating their attacks in Ukraine, having bombarded the central square of country’s second-biggest city and Kyiv’s main TV tower, killing at least five people. The Babi Yar Holocaust memorial was also damaged.