Biden returns to the United Nations as the world grapples with Putin’s latest provocations in the Ukraine war

New York

President Joe Biden Back to green marble united nations stage Hours after the Russian President announced in a provocative speech an escalation in his speech The war effort in UkraineAnd the establishment of a rhetorical confrontation between the two leaders on the international scene.

Biden had already planned to make the Ukraine war a focus of his annual address to the United Nations, with aides previewing a tough message for Moscow. But President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he is ordering Partial mobilization of Russian citizens In the Ukraine war, raising the specter of the use of nuclear weapons dramatically increases the stakes for Biden’s speech.

In his 20-minute speech, Putin warned that he would use “all the means at our disposal” if he deemed Russia’s “territorial integrity” to be endangered.

The mobilization means the possibility of calling up citizens who are in reserve and subjecting those with military experience to compulsory conscription, Putin said, adding that the necessary decree had already been signed and entered into force on Wednesday.

This escalation came after stunning Russian setbacks in the war that lasted more than six months. Biden, who has led efforts to isolate Russia and provide Ukraine with advanced weapons, was planning to emphasize those efforts in a speech Wednesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also plans to address the United Nations on Wednesday.

He expects to offer a “stern rebuke to Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine,” according to his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and to offer “a call to the world to continue to stand against the blatant aggression we have witnessed over the past several months.”

However, Putin’s counter-speech hours before Biden’s address dramatically illustrates the challenges that lie ahead. Combined effects of Protracted conflict and economic uncertainty Create a bleak mood among world leaders gathering in New York this week for the United Nations’ annual high-level meetings.

After delivering his first speech at the United Nations last year under the cloud of a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and stalled domestic ambitions, Biden aides believe he is entering sophomores with a stronger hand.

“We think the president is heading to New York with the wind behind him,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Tuesday, citing a mostly united Western alliance and recent victories on the domestic front, including a historic investment in the fight against the climate. they change.

However, even as Biden announces a renewed American leadership, deeper questions remain about his ability to maintain that position in the coming years, as fears of a global recession loom and threats to American democracy loom.

Biden has spent a great deal of time emphasizing those threats in recent weeks, primarily to a domestic audience but also listening to foreign capital with interest. He recounted in his recent speeches sitting around a table at last year’s G7 summit in Cornwall, England, telling fellow leaders that “America is back.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden, told the audience, asking him: “For how long?”

That question still hangs over Biden’s efforts on the world stage, even a year and a half into his tenure, as his predecessor continues to wield influence over the Republican Party and prepares for another race for the White House. Biden himself said in an interview that aired on Sunday that while he intends to run for re-electionThe final decision is not yet clear.

One of the issues currently taking center stage in world affairs – the painful negotiations to resume the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from – only underscores the effects of pendulum swings in US leadership.

For Biden, the annual United Nations address is another stab at explaining to the world how he has brought the United States back into a leadership position after Donald Trump’s “America First” years.

In his speech, Sullivan said, Biden plans to unveil “important new announcements” toward combating food insecurity and “details how the United States has regained its global leadership and integrity on the world stage.”

After his speech Wednesday morning, Biden will host a pledging session for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In the evening, Biden and the first lady will host a leaders’ reception at the American Museum of Natural History.

This week’s schedule is in flux World leaders gather in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, one of the largest gatherings of heads of state in recent memory. Many have traveled from the British capital to New York to attend United Nations meetings.

Instead of his usual Tuesday morning speaking period, Biden’s address has been postponed by a day. In contrast to the past several years, when the UN General Assembly was curtailed due to Covid-19, this year’s meeting has returned to its usual personal capacity.

Biden and his aides drafted the title for several weeks, a period that coincided with the return of a successful counterattack in Ukraine. Some lands controlled by Russia after months of occupation. The initiative was coordinated with US officials, including by promoting information and intelligence sharing, and supporting it with weapons provided by the United States and its allies.

US officials cautioned that Ukraine’s current gains do not necessarily indicate a broader change in expectations for the war, which is still likely to be a protracted conflict. A day before Biden’s speech, two Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on formal accession to Russia, voices the United States had previously warned would be “sham”.

One of Biden’s goals in his speech on Wednesday will be to stress the importance of maintaining unity among Western allies in supporting Ukraine in the uncertain months ahead.

Compounding the effort is a looming energy crisis, with Russia withholding natural gas supplies from Europe as winter approaches. And the high costs generated in part by surmounting Western sanctions on Moscow led to an economic disaster that caused political turmoil for many leaders in the Biden coalition, including himself.

The president will meet with one of those leaders, British Prime Minister Liz Truss, later Wednesday. It will be their first formal in-person talks since Truss took office earlier this month after her predecessor Boris Johnson’s decision to step down.

It has inherited a deep economic crisis, fueled by rising inflation and rising energy costs, which has led to fears that the UK may soon enter a prolonged recession. While few in the Biden administration shed tears over Johnson’s resignation – Biden once described him as a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump – the US and UK have been deeply allied in their approach to Russia under his leadership.

White House officials expect cooperation to continue under Truss’ leadership, even as she is under pressure to ease economic pressures at home.

What is less certain, however, is whether Truss’s hard-line approach to Brexit will hurt relations with Biden. The president has taken a personal interest in the special issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, a post-Brexit arrangement that requires additional checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The rules were made to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open and to avoid a resurgence of sectarian violence. But Truss moved to rewrite those rules, causing deep concern in both Brussels and Washington.

Putin is not expected to personally participate in this year’s General Assembly, although his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be in New York for the event. Nor does Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to attend the United Nations in person this year.

The two authoritarian leaders, who met face to face last week, have worked to deepen ties between their countries as relations with the West deteriorate. Biden warned Xi about supporting Putin in his invasion of Ukraine, a topic he is expected to repeat in Wednesday’s speech.

The absence of Putin and Xi underlines the limits of places like the United Nations to solve the world’s most serious problems. With permanent seats on the UN Security Council, Russia has resisted approving resolutions on Syria and Ukraine, resulting in inaction.

Security Council reform efforts have taken on even greater strength under the Biden administration, although the prospects for breaking the deadlock in the Security Council appear slim. Biden aides are still studying how he will speak specifically about the United States’ desire for Security Council reform during his visit to the United Nations this week, but he is expected to announce his views at least in private with other leaders.

“We are committed to finding a way forward to make the United Nations fit for purpose for this century. Currently, there is an attack on the United Nations system. There is an attack on the Charter,” Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, said Sunday on State of the Union Network CNN, by a permanent member of the Security Council.

“I can’t change the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, but I can continue the efforts we’ve been successful in, and that isolates them, condemns them, and makes sure they know and understand that it’s not business as usual,” she told Jake Tapper.

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