President Biden condemned Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine during his keynote address at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. During his remarks at U.N. headquarters in New York City as part of the General Debate, Biden said President Vladimir Putin is acting aggressively and irresponsibly by threatening to use nuclear weapons.
Biden said Russia has violated the tenets of the United Nations by going to war with Ukraine in February, and called the military aggression “outrageous”. He pushed the United Nations to support Ukraine: “The world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claimed he had to act because Russia was threatened. No one threatened Russia and no one other than Russia sought conflict. In fact, we warned he was coming.” Biden pointed to Russian attacks that have targeted civilian centers, residential areas, schools, hospitals, rail stations, and said evidence of war crimes is everywhere: “This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple. That should make your blood run cold.”
Biden noted that 141 countries have condemned Russia for the war and dozens have given billions in emergency aid. He said Putin must pay, or else it will only motivate other autocratic regimes to act in a similar fashion in the future: “If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this institution stands for. This past year, the world was tested as well. We did not hesitate. We chose liberty. We chose sovereignty. We stood with Ukraine. Like you, the United States wants this war to end, on just terms. On terms, we all signed up for. You cannot seize a nation’s territory by force. The only country that is standing in the way of that is Russia.”
Putin, in a rare national address on Wednesday, threatened to use nuclear weapons in the conflict and said he was partially mobilizing hundreds of thousands of reservists in Russia to bolster the military in Ukraine. It’s believed to be the first troop mobilization in Russia since World War II. Putin said: “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and some components are more modern than those of the NATO countries. And at the threat to the territorial integrity of our country, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff.”
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