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Biden to rally leaders against Russia's 'naked aggression' in UN speech

President Biden will call on world leaders to stand up against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly.

Biden will address the international body on Wednesday as he seeks to rally support to push back against Russia amid Ukraine’s recent gains on the battlefield.

“Among other things, he’ll offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen the past several months,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday.

“The main thrust of his presentation will really be about the United Nations charter. About the foundational principle at the heart of that charter, that countries cannot conquer their neighbors by force,” Sullivan added.

Biden will address the United Nations General Assembly while facing an international crisis for a second consecutive year. Last year, Biden arrived in New York City roughly a month after the U.S. pulled its forces out of Afghanistan in a chaotic withdrawal.

This year, Biden will speak at a critical juncture in the war in Ukraine, with Ukrainian forces making advances in counteroffensives and putting Russian President Vladimir Putin on the defensive.

Sullivan noted that neither Putin nor Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in New York for the meetings. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to be in attendance.

“Our competitors are facing increasingly strong headwinds and neither President Xi nor President Putin are even showing up,” he said.

Sullivan added that the Ukrainian military’s recent counteroffensive “will feature prominently in his speech.”

The meetings in New York come amid successful counteroffensives from the Ukrainian military, which has recently regained thousands of miles of territory in the country’s northeast and forced thousands of Russian troops to retreat.

Building support for Ukraine at the U.N. could prove difficult for Biden, as many members have either been sympathetic to Russia or antagonistic toward the United States. Russia sits on the U.N. Security Council, and as a result has the ability to thwart efforts to hold Moscow accountable.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in his speech at the U.N. on Tuesday criticized the economic impact of Western sanctions, but did not mention Russia in his remarks.

In the annual speech, Biden will also lay out his vision for American foreign policy and principal leadership, Sullivan said.

“He will make significant new announcements about the U.S. government’s investments to address global food insecurity and he’ll lay out in detail how the U.S. has restored its global leadership and the integrity of its word on the world stage by delivering on the promises we make and he has made as president,” he said.

The president will hold his first one-on-one meeting with the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss, and plans to host world leaders and their spouses while in New York. He will also host a session on combating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide.

Ahead of the U.N. meetings, Sullivan was asked about the fallout to Biden responding “yes” on whether the U.S. would defend Taiwan if Beijing tries to invade during a CBS News interview that aired on Sunday. 

“We continue to stand behind the One China policy, we continue to stand against unilateral changes to the status quo, and we continue to stand for peace and stability,” Sullivan said.

The national security adviser argued that the president answered a hypothetical question in the interview, but did not announce a policy change, noting he’d made similar comments earlier this year in Tokyo.

“The president is a direct and straightforward person. He answered a hypothetical, he’s answered it before in a similar way and he has also been clear that he … stands behind the historic U.S. policy towards Taiwan that has existed through Democratic and Republican administrations,” Sullivan said.

Source: The Hill

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