White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain declined to say Tuesday if US President Joe Biden will announce any “concrete military steps” against Russia at tonight’s State of the Union addressing, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Biden will highlight, “what he has assembled, which is an unprecedented coalition — NATO plus our EU partners, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan — to do two things: to provide all kinds of aid…and also coming together with unprecedented sanctions against the country as large as Russia.”
“So, what you’ll hear the President tonight talk about is this coalition he's helped assemble, he's led in assembling,” Klain told Wolf, “Along with the next steps further tightening the sanctions on the oligarchs who buck up Putin, who benefit from Putin's regime, and also the next steps in getting humanitarian and military aid to the Ukrainians.”
Klain also declined to weigh in on Putin’s mental state, only telling CNN Putin “has done something now that he has not done to this extent before, which is launch a completely unprovoked unjustified invasion of a country as large and as significant as Ukraine.”
Earlier Tuesday, CNN reported the US intelligence community has made evaluating Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of mind a top priority in recent days as it seeks to establish how that is affecting his handling of the rapidly escalating Ukraine crisis, according to two sources familiar with the effort.
Klain pointed to the sanctions in effect already following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, indicating that the actions have already garnered Biden praise from allies and political opponents alike,
“It’s hard to impose sanctions like that on a country as big as Russia, it's hard to pull everyone together to do that, and I think that's why you're seeing both Democrats and Republicans, including people who have not been big fans of Joe Biden previously, saying that this effort, this global effort to punish Putin and punish his regime is tighter and stronger than they ever expected,” he said.
Follow our live coverage of Biden's State of the Union address here.