April 14, 2024

In a 30-minute speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Joe Biden asked world leaders to stand with Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was watching as Biden addressed U.N. delegates. “Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence,” reports The New York Times. “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war,” the president said. “Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately.”

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Biden told world leaders Moscow’s price for peace was “Ukraine’s capitulation, Ukraine’s territory and Ukraine’s children” and called on them to avoid appeasement.

“I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected?” Biden said in his address. “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”

He continued: “I’d respectfully suggest the answer is no.” He implored leaders to stand firm. “We have to stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” he said.

World at an inflection point

“We gather once more at an inflection point in world history,” Biden said. “I understand the duty my country has at this critical moment.

“As president of the United States, I understand the duty my country has to lead this critical moment, to work with countries in every region linking them in common cause, to join together with partners who share a common vision of the future of the world, where our children do not go hungry and everyone has access to quality health care, where workers are empowered and our environment is protected, where entrepreneurs and innovators everywhere can access opportunity everywhere, where conflicts are resolved peacefully and countries can chart their own course.”

Biden stressed the need for the countries of the world to work together, reports The Wall Street Journal. “The United States seeks a more secure, more prosperous, more equitable world for all people, because we know our future is bound to yours,” Biden said. “Let me repeat that again. We know our future is bound to yours. And no nation can meet the challenges of today alone.”

What’s next?

According to The New York Times, Biden will be using his time at the United Nations to meet with other world leaders. He plans to meet Tuesday afternoon with the leaders of the five Central Asian republics that used to be part of the Soviet Union — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It will be the first time a U.S. president has met jointly with “the Stans,” reports NPR.

On Tuesday evening, the Bidens will host a reception for other world leaders at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On Wednesday, Biden will sit down separately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, but will not be hosting him at the White House. Later on Wednesday, he will be meeting with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who pitched himself as the leader of the Global South during his own UNGA remarks.

Zelenskyy will address the U.N. General Assembly later Tuesday.

Holly Richardson is the editor of Utah Policy and minored in International Relations while earning a PhD in Political Science.

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