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Biden at UN calls for unity among countries in supporting Ukraine

Biden at UN calls for unity among countries in supporting Ukraine

(NewsNation) — World leaders must continue to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, President Joe Biden said at his annual address before the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, emphasizing that the sovereignty of other countries depends on it.

"Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence," Biden said. "But I ask you this — if we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they're protected?"

It's a message Biden previewed already in a pair of fundraisers Monday evening, where he told supporters that he stood up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion — and questioned whether his predecessor, Donald Trump, would have attempted to do the same.

"If you allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?" Biden said during his remarks Tuesday. "I'd respectfully suggest the answer is no. We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow."

Some world leaders, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin, skipped the U.N. gathering.

Biden's message of unwavering support for Ukraine comes as Congress is increasingly divided over providing additional funding for the country. While Biden has sought a package of $13.1 billion, conservative Republican lawmakers have been pushing for spending cuts. Some lawmakers allied with Trump are specifically looking to stop money to Ukraine.

In his own speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is "weaponizing" everything from food and energy to abducted children. Even with various agreements restricting arms themselves, Zelenskyy said, "There are no real restrictions on weaponization."

"This is clearly a genocide when hatred is weaponized against one nation, it never stops there," Zelenskyy said. "Each decade Russia starts a new war... and the goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into weapons against you, against the international rules-based order."

China was another big topic at the world stage, with Biden talking about the importance of the U.S. working with the country on issues like climate change.

“When it comes to China I want to be clear and consistent: we seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict,Biden said. "I've said we are for de-risking, not de-coupling with China."

U.S. officials stand ready to work with China on issues where progress "hinges on our common efforts" — and nowhere is that more critical, Biden said, than the "accelerated climate crisis."

Heat waves in the United States and China, wildfires in North America and Southern Europe, years of drought in Africa as well as "tragic" flooding in Libya that killed thousands of people are all examples of this crisis in action, Biden said.

"Together these snapshots tell an urgent story of what awaits us if we fail to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and begin to climate-proof the world," Biden said.

After the speech, Biden planned to meet with António Guterres, the U.N. secretary-general, as well as leaders from the so-called C5 group of Central Asian nations, which include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The meeting was expected to focus on regional security, trade, climate change, ongoing reforms to improve governance and other issues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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