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Biden Speaks at UNGA, Denounces Russia's Violation of UN Charter

President Joe Biden addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023.

New York — Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden again denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the core tenets of the U.N. Charter – the clear prohibition against taking other nation’s territory by force.

“Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence. But I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the U.N. Charter to appease an aggressor, can any member state feel confident that they are protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure? The answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow,” Biden said.

“That is why the United States together with our Allies and partners around the world will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity – and their freedom,” Biden added.

Leaders from at least 145 countries are slated to attend the annual UNGA meeting this week in New York, with a few notable exceptions – France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia will be represented by their senior officials. This means that the United States is the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council whose top leader will be present.

It will be the second time Biden delivers his condemnation of Russia’s “brutal, senseless” war on Ukraine in front of the world body. Last September, in his first UNGA address since the invasion, Biden accused Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, of attempting to “erase a sovereign state from the map.”

More than 140 U.N. member countries last year supported a General Assembly resolution that condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine.

But with the protracted conflict continuing to inflict a toll on global energy and food prices, there are growing calls from lower and middle-income nations often grouped as the Global South to fast-track peace negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.

As part of Ukraine’s diplomatic outreach to the Global South, it has supported the broadest peace initiative to date from Saudi Arabia, which in August hosted senior officials from some 40 countries including U.S., China, India but not Russia to work towards a broad agreement of key principles for a peaceful end to the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will have a chance to make his own case Tuesday, speaking directly to the General Assembly. It will be his first in person appearance in front of the world body since Russia’s invasion.

Anita Powell contributed to this report.