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Biden to rebuke Russia over Ukraine war at UN

President Biden will rebuke Russia’s “naked aggression” in Ukraine when he appears before the UN General Assembly Wednesday, in a speech that will argue that the war is a challenge to what the international body stands for, the White House said.

Biden is expected to rally allies for the Ukrainian resistance in his 10:30 a.m. address, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists and accused the West of “nuclear blackmail.”

“He’ll offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

lyubov Prokofjevna, 85, speaks on the phone in her damaged apartment at a residential building hit by a missile in Kharkiv.
lyubov Prokofjevna, 85, speaks on the phone in her damaged apartment at a residential building hit by a missile in Kharkiv.
AFP via Getty Images

“He will underscore the importance of strengthening the United Nations and reaffirm core tenets of its charter at a time when a permanent member of the Security Council has struck at the very heart of the charter by challenging the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Though Russia continues to lose ground in the invasion, Biden’s speech comes as Moscow-controlled areas of southern and eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on becoming part of Russia. 

The General Assembly is also confronted by other pressing issues, including threats of a major recession in Europe and continued strife between China and Taiwan.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin recently mobilized 300,000 reservists.
AP

Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow and director of the Global Order and Institutions Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote that Biden faces “immense” pressure ahead of Wednesday’s address.

“Last year, [Biden] won easy plaudits as the ‘anti-Trump,’ pledging that ‘America was back,’” Patrick said.

“This year demands more. The liberal, rules-based international system is reeling, battered by Russian aggression, Chinese ambitions, authoritarian assaults, a halting pandemic recovery, quickening climate change, skepticism of the U.N.’s relevance, and gnawing doubts about American staying power.”

Ukrainian artillerymen firing from a cannon along the front line at unknown location in the Ukraine.
Ukrainian artillerymen firing from a cannon along the front line at unknown location in the Ukraine.
General Staff of the Armed Force

The General Assembly also comes less than two months before November’s midterm elections. After arriving in New York Tuesday night, fresh from the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Biden spoke at a Democratic National Committee event that raised about $2 million. He is expected to hold another fundraiser on Thursday.

Another priority at this year’s UN gathering is the Biden administration’s stalled attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

Brokered by Obama in 2015 and scrapped by Donald Trump three years later, the agreement provided billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s agreement to dismantle much of its nuclear program.

People receive water as humanitarian aid in the recently retaken area of Izium, Ukraine on Monday.
People receive water as humanitarian aid in the recently retaken area of Izium, Ukraine on Monday.
AP

Although Sullivan said no major progress was expected this week, he said Biden would underscore in his speech that a deal can be reached “if Iran is prepared to be serious about its obligations.”

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