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Biden: Russia's Ukraine abuses 'make your blood run cold'

by The Associated Press | September 22, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By AAMER MADHANI and ZEKE MILLER

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- President Joe Biden declared at the United Nations on Wednesday that Russia has "shamelessly violated the core tenets" of the international body with its war in Ukraine as he summoned nations around the globe to stand firm in backing the Ukrainian resistance.

Delivering a forceful condemnation of Russia's seven-month invasion, Biden said reports of Russian abuses against civilians and its efforts to erase Ukraine and its culture "should make your blood run cold." He referenced President Vladimir Putin's announcement Wednesday that he had ordered a partial mobilization of reservists, a deeply unpopular step that sparked protests in Russia.

And Putin's new nuclear threats against Europe showed "reckless disregard" for Russia's responsibilities as a signer of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Biden said.

He also criticized Russia for scheduling "sham referenda" this week in territory it has forcibly seized in Ukraine.

"A permanent member of the U..N Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the U.N. charter," he told his U.N. audience.

Biden's speech was part of an effort to maintain Russia's isolation on the global stage as the costs of war mount, worries about energy this winter loom and Congress is likely to look more skeptically on spending more on military defense. The president called on all nations, whether democracies or autocracies, to speak out against Russia's "brutal, needless war" and to bolster's Ukraine effort to defend itself.

"We will stand in solidarity against Russia's aggression, period," Biden said.

Biden also highlighted consequences of the invasion for the world's food supply, pledging $2.9 billion in global food security aid to address shortages caused by the war and the effects of climate change.

Biden, during his time at the U.N. General Assembly, met with Secretary General António Guterres and held his first meeting with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, during which they discussed Russia's war, energy security and China. He was to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron later in the day.

He was also expected to press nations to meet an $18 billion target to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, reiterating the U.S. commitment of $6 billion to that goal.

But the heart of the president's visit to the U.N. this year was his full-throated censure of Russia as its war nears the seven-month mark. One of Russia's deputy U.N. ambassadors, Gennady Kuzmin, was sitting in Russia's seat during Biden's speech.

Biden was confronting no shortage of difficult issues as leaders gathered this year.

In addition to the Russian war in Ukraine, European fears that a recession could be just around the corner are heightened. Administration concerns grow by the day that time is running short to revive the Iran nuclear deal and over China's saber-rattling on Taiwan.

China's President Xi Jinping opted not to attend this year's U.N. gathering, but his country's conduct and intentions loomed large.

Weeks after tensions flared across the Taiwan Strait as China objected to the visit to Taiwan of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Biden called for "peace and stability" and said the U.S. would "oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side." That came days after Biden repeated that the U.S. would militarily assist Taiwan if China sought to invade.

Biden on Wednesday also declared that "fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world," citing last month's U.N. human rights office report raising concerns about possible "crimes against humanity" in China's western region against Uyghurs and other largely Muslim ethnic groups.

He also singled out for criticism the military junta in Myanmar, the Taliban controlling Afghanistan, and Iran, where he said the U.S. supports protests in Iran that sprang up in recent days after a 22-year-old woman died while being held by the morality police for violating the country's Islamic dress code.

Print Headline: Biden: Russia's Ukraine abuses 'make your blood run cold'

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