President Joe Biden made a strong rebuke of Russia’s war against Ukraine on Wednesday, telling the United Nations that the country has violated the “core tenets” of the charter with its aggression.
“Let us speak plainly: A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor and attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map,” Biden told the General Assembly, adding that the war was “chosen by one man, to be very blunt.
“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter.”
Biden mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a partial mobilization to call up 300,000 reservists in response to Ukrainian forces retaking control of large stretches of territory near Kharkiv. Putin also announced plans to hold referendums to annex Russian-occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine, and accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail.” The reservist announcement has led to Russians rushing to book one-way flights out of the country while they still could.
“The world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claimed he had to act because Russia was threatened – but no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict,” Biden said, adding that Ukraine now faces taxes on schools, railway stations, hospitals, and attacks on centers of Ukrainian history and culture.
Biden also mentioned the latest evidence of Russia’s war crimes: a mass grave discovered earlier this month in the recently liberated northeastern Ukrainian city of Izyum. Investigators found over 440 men, women and children at the grave, their bodies showing signs of torture. Ukrainian authorities said they also found evidence of “torture chambers” in the Kharkiv region that Russia had occupied.
“This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people,” Biden told the U.N. “Wherever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe – that should make your blood run cold.
“Because if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for.”
In his remarks, Biden announced that the United States would provide $2.9 billion to support strengthening global food security, which he said is at risk due to the climate crisis, the pandemic and the consequences of Russia’s invasion. According to the president, about 193 million people around the world experience acute food insecurity – an increase of 40 million from last year.
“Russia, in the meantime, is pumping out lies trying to pin the blame for the food crisis on the sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine,” Biden said. “So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer, no limitation. It’s Russia’s war that’s worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it.”