The US leader’s General Assembly speech also painted Russia as an imperial menace to be confronted by the West
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden accused Russia of imperialism and seeking to erase Ukraine as a state, while insisting the US does not seek conflict, only cooperation. Biden also endorsed expanding the UN Security Council and limiting veto powers for its permanent members.
“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the UN Charter, no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force,” Biden said, accusing Moscow of attempting to “erase a sovereign state from the map.”
He also insisted that “no one threatened Russia” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin made “overt nuclear threats against Europe” and showed a “reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime” in the address to the nation broadcast earlier in the day.
Putin said Russia was prepared to use its nuclear deterrent to defend its territory from weapons of mass destruction, but did not name any specific targets.
“If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this institution stands for,” Biden told the UN, adding that the US wishes to see the conflict in Ukraine to “end on just terms … that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.”
While not overtly calling for Russia’s expulsion from the UN or the Security Council, Biden said its members should “consistently defend the Charter” and “refrain from the use of the veto except in rare, extraordinary situations.” Washington also wants to expand the number of UNSC members, both permanent and rotating, with “nations we have long supported,” he said.
Biden accused Russia of “pumping out lies” about the cause of food shortages, insisting that the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies “explicitly” allows Moscow to export food and fertilizer without limitation. The Russian Foreign Ministry has pointed out that the West has sanctioned all Russian shipping and blocked insurance, effectively blocking the cargo from reaching its destination.
The American president also called on countries of the world not to limit exports or “hoard” food. About a dozen countries – e.g. India, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Turkey – have imposed export controls this year, in response to food shortages, which Biden blamed on Russia and Moscow – on Western sanctions.
The US leader also insisted Washington does not seek conflict, does not force anyone to choose between allying with the US or another country, and champions infrastructure investments not to create dependency, but to increase self-sufficiency.