Biden rebukes Russia’s “outrageous” Ukraine escalation, says US “not seeking a new cold war”

As expected President Biden in his speech blasted Putin’s “outrageous” invasion of Ukraine and latest escalation by ordering a ‘partial’ mobilization. He stressed before the UN General Assembly the war is “about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state — plain and simple.” On Ukraine, the president said further, “The world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened. But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict.”

“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russian aggression,” Biden continued. He highlighted Putin’s mention of nuclear weapons in his early Wednesday speech, and responded “we are not seeking a new Cold War.” Biden made mention of alleged atrocities by Russian forces in places like Izium, and even charged the Kremlin with “torture” of Ukrainian civilians.

Overall, there was little unexpected in the somewhat lengthy speech, nor were there any specific new US courses of action or sanctions in response to the Ukraine conflict or Putin’s fresh declarations. Below is Biden’s UN address, which lasted a little over 30-minutes.

President Joe Biden is set to address the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning at UN headquarters in New York City. Crucially it will come hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin in his own major speech addressing the Ukraine conflict announced a ‘partial mobilization’ of national forces – or rather of reserve units, as the Kremlin is now clarifying. Calling the moves “urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia,” Putin said that Russia is fighting the full might of NATO. The US and its allies, he said, are seeking to “destroy” Russia.

Putin also accused the west of using “nuclear blackmail” against Russia noting that “if its territorial integrity is threatened Russia will definitely use all the means at its disposal” to defend Russian territory. “This is not a bluff,” he had stressed. US officials were quick to condemn what they said is a severe “escalation” of the “war of aggression” against Ukraine. Putin’s speech additionally included an order for fresh mobilization of 300,000 “reservists”. The White House issued an initial statement saying it takes Putin’s words about nuclear weapons “seriously” – but that it still doesn’t see the need to increase America’s nuclear readiness and strategic deterrents.

Given that Biden’s UN remarks are coming the same day as Putin’s significant new declaration – being widely viewed as a new strategy of using the fuller might of the Russian military’s blunt forces amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the east – which has seen some success, all eyes will be on Biden and his potentially outlining a specific response, including the likelihood of more sanctions. 

He’s also expected to announce $2.9 billion for a fund aimed at mitigating global food insecurity, in part driven by the seven-month Ukraine conflict.



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