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Locals react to State of the Union address

The president's focus on Ukraine pleased local Ukrainians. KPBS Kitty Alvarado has the story.

Nadia Haywas, who lives in Oceanside but has roots and loved ones in Ukraine, listened closely to Tuesday’s State of the Union address, in which President Joe Biden promised to check Russia's aggression. After the speech, she told KPBS that she appreciates the bipartisan support, aid and sanctions, but added that they are not enough. “Ukraine is fighting this war for all of Europe,” she said. “It’s not fair. ... All of Ukraine is grateful for all the military support, but I think it’s going to need some more personnel.”

RELATED: Biden banning Russia from U.S. airspace because of Ukraine

Corrine Hoare is a professor at the University of San Diego and an expert in White House communication. She said the president’s message on Ukraine hit the mark. “President Biden’s plan was to show strength, to show resolve and to send a message around the world that this type of behavior that Putin is exercising will not be tolerated and there is strength among our NATO allies,” she said.

San Diego’s congressional Democrats were pleased with the speech. It was the first State of the Union for Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-53), and she said it was moving to see the bipartisan support for the Ukrainian people.

“For me it was really important to have President Biden address the situation at the top, show his clear and steady leadership through this crisis ... and also that what we’re doing here is not only about Ukraine — it’s about standing up for democracy against autocracy,” she said.

Jacobs also said she thought the president's remarks struck a chord with members of both sides of the aisle.

RELATED: Russian attacks have disrupted Ukraine's supply chain, which may cause food shortages

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-51) also praised the speech, promising in a written statement “to continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to issue strong sanctions against Russia and send humanitarian, military, and economic aid to Ukraine. The United States values democracy around the world, and we will hold those who threaten democracy accountable.”

In a statement of his own, Rep. Mike Levin (D-49) said he would work “to deliver additional support for the Ukrainian people and ensure that democracy and sovereignty prevail over autocracy and subjugation.”

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa was the only member of the San Diego delegation to criticize the speech. On his official Twitter account, he tweeted: “If Biden valued our troops, he would end his outrageous vaccine mandate that threatens to destroy tens of thousands of their careers of honor,” and asked, “Do Biden’s speechwriters know whose administration opened our borders, shut down our energy, and supported the defund the police movement?”

Locals react to State of the Union address
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