President Joe Biden urged world leaders to back Ukraine in its war against Russia, even as the country and its allies brace for the prospect of a long-term conflict, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
“If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?” Biden said Tuesday. “The answer is no. We have to stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.”
“No nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine,” Biden said as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy watched him deliver his address. “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. And it’s Russia alone that stands in the way of peace, because Russia’s price for peace is Ukraine’s capitulation, Ukraine’s territory and Ukraine’s children.”
The plea to continue supporting Kyiv comes as Biden prepares to host Zelenskyy at the White House on Thursday. Zelenskyy will also meet with members of Congress, including Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to make his case for more aid. Ukrainian forces are engaged in a grueling counteroffensive to retake land lost to Russia and Zelenskyy has pressed allies for additional assistance.
It also comes at a time when the embattled global body is facing yet another diplomatic crisis. Canada this week accused Indian operatives of assassinating a Sikh leader on Canadian soil, allegations the Indian government denied. The spat leaves Biden caught between one of the US’s closest allies and a key partner in countering China.
Biden is seeking $24 billion for Ukraine, but conservatives in the House have threatened to shut down the US government if a budget deal includes what they call a “blank check” for Kyiv. House conservatives have bristled at Biden’s support for Ukraine and called for imposing more conditions on or halting aid. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to pass additional government funding.
Biden’s comments follow remarks from a senior State Department official earlier Tuesday that the US and allies in the Group of Seven understand the war will last for the medium or long term and that their planning should reflect that outcome.
The official spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, summarizing a dinner among officials Group of Seven industrialized democracies the night before. Allies must ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion fails and there is sufficient burden-sharing, the official said.
Biden on Tuesday also addressed the US relationship with China, which has seen tensions grow between the world’s two largest economies. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have not spoken since November 2022 as the countries have sparred over their technological ambitions, Taiwan, and an alleged Chinese spy balloon that crossed the US.
“When it comes to China, I want to be clear and consistent: we seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict,” Biden said. “We also stand ready to work together with China on issues where progress hinges on our common efforts.”
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