Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin and his armed forces are betting that the world will grow weary of supporting Ukraine and it is incumbent upon the countries in the United Nations to stand firm against Putin’s aggression.
President Joe Biden made a forceful call for the world to stand up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for leaders to stand firm in their support of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his nation as the war heads toward its second autumn.
“If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? I respectfully suggest the answer is no. We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” Biden said.
“That’s why the United States, together with our allies and partners around the world, will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity and their freedom,” he added.
The annual UN talks are unfolding for the second year under the shadow of the war in Ukraine, and the conflict will remain a focus for leaders. While the UN has led on organizing humanitarian aid during the conflict, it hasn’t acted as a mediator in the war. Biden is set to meet with Zelensky – who was in the audience for Biden’s speech on Tuesday – in Washington later this week.
“For the second year in a row, this gathering – dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflicts – is darkened by the shadow of war. An illegal war of conquest brought without provocation against its neighbor Ukraine,” Biden said.
He added, “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. And it’s Russia alone that stands in the way of peace.”
Later Tuesday, in remarks to the United Nations Leaders’ Reception at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he told other world leaders: “Our world stands at an inflection point, and the decisions we make now are going to determine our future for decades to come.”
The president made reference to Russia, observing that the world stands poised at a moment where “basic principles like sovereignty, territorial integrity, universal human rights are being tested,” and “a member the United Nations Security Council has launched a brazen and brutal attack against the people of Ukraine – attacks that go against the very character of the United Nations.”
During his speech to the General Assembly, Biden also returned to an issue that he frequently turns to in his public remarks – the future of democracy in the world. The president has often cast the fundamental motivating issue of his presidency as democracy vs. autocracy. And one day after the president railed against his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, in a sharpened speech at a fundraiser warning that Trump was “determined to destroy democracy,” Biden pressed the importance of democratic institutions.