US President Joseph Biden said during his appearance Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that Russian leader Vladimir Putin's attitudes challenged Ukraine's very right to exist.
“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and [Ukrainians’] right to exist as a people,” Biden said. “Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should make your blood run cold,” Biden underlined.
Putin claims that he had to act because Russia was being threatened. Nobody threatened Russia. Nobody but Russia was the one who sought the conflict, Biden also pointed out while insisting Washington wanted the conflict to end on “just terms.”
“The United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we’re all signed up for – that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force,” he said just hours after Putin announced a partial military mobilization after major setbacks in recent weeks, as Ukrainian forces backed by western weaponry recaptured numerous territories on the eastern front.
In his second appearance before UNGA as president, Biden also highlighted that Putin had violated the UN Charter when it invaded its neighbor in February.
Biden also called for reforms to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to address current global challenges. He spoke in favor of increasing the number of countries represented in the body which has five permanent members with veto power – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the US – and 10 rotating states elected every two years. “We have long supported permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean,” Biden told UNGA.
“Members of the UN Security Council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the UN Charter and refrain from the use of the veto except in rare, extraordinary situations to ensure that the council remains credible and effective,” Biden insisted.
The US President also said Washington wanted to avoid a military confrontation with Chine: “Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China as we manage shifting geopolitical trends: The United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader,” he stressed.
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a cold war. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner,” Biden also pointed out as tension grows around Taiwan
Regarding the Middle East, Biden reiterated that the United States is committed to Israel’s security and sees a negotiated, two-state solution as the best option to end the conflict with Palestine, which many find unattainable due to the prevalence of Israel settlements in occupied territory that would allow Israel to maintain the status quo.
Biden also said his administration would stand against Iran having nuclear weapons as numerous negotiations have failed to revive the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “While the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” Biden said while endorsing Iranians opposing their government after the death of a woman in police custody for protesting against face-covering mandates.
“Today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights,” Biden said.