In his half hour address Wednesday at the U.N. and to world leaders, President Biden went immediately to the core of his message—Russia’s invasion and war with Ukraine. “This is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, pure and simple,” he stated. “Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold.”
The speech comes as Russia reels from setbacks and large retreat from Ukraine territory, and following President Putin’s announcement to usher more troops into the battles, including recruiting more citizens and deploying reservists. Biden pledged a package of $2.9 billion in U.S. support for the humanitarian and food assistance to Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion and climate change. “Russia is pumping out lies,” he said, rejecting Russia’s claims that sanctions against Russia were to blame for the crisis. “So let me be perfectly clear about something: our sanctions explicitly allow…Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer. No limitations.”
Putin was not available at the General Assembly but sent his foreign minister. China’s President Xi Jinping was also not in attendance and represented by his foreign minister. Both China and Russia are members of the U.N.’s Security Council with veto power. Biden criticized China and Iran for their violations of human rights.
Biden, in this second address to the U.N., cited the importance of the U.N.’s charter and that it was not “only signed by democracies of the world. It was negotiated among citizens, dozens of nations, with vastly different histories and ideologies, united in their commitment to work for peace.”
Feeding the world’s starving people was another theme Biden gave considerable attention with the promise to make sure the flow of grain and products reach those desperately in need.