- BBC News World
In one of the most anticipated speeches of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, US President Joe Biden lashed out at Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine.
The president described the Russian invasion as “an unnecessary and brutal war” for which he held Putin directly responsible for the last six months of attacks on Ukrainian territory.
“It’s a war that chose a man, to be very frank. Let’s be frank: a permanent member of the UN Security Council invaded his neighbor and tried to wipe a sovereign state off the map.”
He called on the world to “see these horrendous acts for what they are” and dismissed Russia’s justification that it had to launch a “special operation” in Ukraine to defend its own integrity and liberate Ukrainians from a “Nazi government.”
“No one threatened Russia, and no one but Russia sought conflict (… ) Borders cannot be expanded through bloodshed,” continued Biden, who reiterated support for Ukraine: “We will stand in solidarity and oppose the Russian aggression. Period.”
The US president’s speech, lasting almost 20 minutes, was delivered before members of the UN at the headquarters in New York. They were present the delegates of the Russian Federation who reacted with laughter and skepticism to Biden’s words.
Earlier this Wednesday, President Putin announced from Moscow a mobilization of 300,000 reservists to support military operations in Ukraine.
This “partial mobilization,” the Russian president said in a televised speech, is the product of the need to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Reform the Security Council
The US president also raised the need to make changes to the Security Council of the United Nations, currently made up of 15 states.
From them, five are permanent and they have the right to veto the proposed resolutions of others: China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Russia.
This year, several projects presented and denouncing the Russian invasion were vetoed by the Moscow representative, so they did not prosper.
Faced with this situation, Biden said that the permanent members “refrain from using the veto, except in extraordinary situations, to ensure that the Council does not lose its credibility and effectiveness“.
He also proposed that the Security Council expand its number of members. Currently 10 seats are non-permanent.
The limits of the UN exposed. Analysis by Sarah Smith, BBC North America editor.
In his speech, Biden highlighted the fact that 141 countries in the UN General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn Russia’s actions.
He warned that the UN Charter, the very foundation of the rules-based global order, was under attack.
But as the Ukraine war dominates the UN General Assembly, the limits of what the UN can do when a member nation invades another country is clear.
Russia, which has a permanent seat on the Security Council, and thus the right to veto, has done so.
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