NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden appealed to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to stand with Ukraine against Russian invaders, hoping Republicans in Congress will take notice as well.
“Russia believes that the world will tire and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequences,” Biden said in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “If we allow the partition of Ukraine, will the independence of any country be secure?”
Biden received applause when he said that the United States and its allies would stand by Ukraine’s struggle for freedom. The president said, “Russia alone bears responsibility for this war.” He added: “Russia alone has the ability to end this war immediately.”
Biden’s speech at the annual rally was the main event of his three-day visit to New York, which will include meetings with the presidents of five Central Asian countries, and the leaders of Israel and Brazil.
Biden, a Democrat, has made mobilizing US allies to support Ukraine a key element of US foreign policy, saying the world must send a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will not be able to outlast the West.
Biden has faced criticism from some Republicans who want the United States to spend less money on the war effort.
Former President Donald Trump, the most likely candidate to win the Republican Party nomination in the 2024 presidential elections, pledged to seek a quick end to the war if he returned to power.
Trump expressed doubts about Washington’s dealings with its traditional allies, including NATO, and praised Putin.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the most prominent Republican in Washington, asked whether the United States should continue sending billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine.
In his speech, Biden said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and occupation of the territories violates the founding charter of the United Nations, the main principle of which is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
His comments matched those of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said in his opening speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the Russian invasion had “unleashed a cascade of terror.”
A Biden administration official said that Biden and US officials will also focus at the UN meetings on mobilizing resources for infrastructure, sustainable development and combating climate change.
A large majority of Americans support providing weapons to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia, and believe such assistance shows China and other US rivals a desire to protect the interests of the United States and its allies, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted in June.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who attended and praised Biden’s remarks before his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, is expected to visit Biden at the White House on Thursday and meet with some congressional leaders as well.
The United States is preparing a new military aid package for Ukraine to coincide with Zelensky’s visit, and Congress has been asked to approve billions of additional dollars in security aid for the rest of the year.
“We have confidence that there will be bipartisan support for this. And I think President Zelensky does as well,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters.
After his speech, Biden was scheduled to sit down with Guterres to discuss the world’s hotspots.
Later, he will attend a summit with the heads of five Central Asian countries, the first of its kind. They are Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
On Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and join him at an event with labor leaders from Brazil and the United States.
On Wednesday, Biden is also scheduled to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since Netanyahu regained power last December.
Sullivan said they would discuss “a vision for a more stable, prosperous and integrated region, as well as compare notes on effectively confronting and deterring Iran.”
Reporting by Steve Holland. (Additional reporting by Geoff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt) Editing by Heather Timmons, Grant McCall and Howard Goller
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