President Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly and focused on Russia’s war against Ukraine. The president condemned the war and called on nations around the world to continue supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression,” President Biden said.
President Biden denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech this morning, in which Putin said he’ll call up as many as 300,000 military reservists and warned that he’s not bluffing about using all the tools at his disposal to protect Russia. That is being seen as a threat to use nuclear weapons.
Tuesday, Russian controlled areas of Ukraine announced they will hold referendums on whether to become part of Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the votes will be a “sham.” They are expected to begin Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.
President Biden called on world leaders to hold Russia accountable.
“Because if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for,” the president said.
President Biden also proposed to increase the number of permanent and non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council and called on council members to refrain from using their veto power. Russia has vetoed multiple resolutions, including one in February that demanded the country remove all its troops from Ukraine.
As a result of the war, food shortages have increased around the world, including in some of the poorest African nations. President Biden announced the U.S. will be providing an additional $2.9 billion this year for humanitarian and food aid.
The president pointed his finger directly at Russia for causing some of the food shortages and said exports should continue from ports in the Black Sea, which were cut off during the beginning of the war.
On a separate note, the president called for the creation of a pandemic preparedness and response fund at the World Bank. He also pledged $6 billion with the bipartisan support of Congress for the world HIV/AIDS response.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.