Biden further rebukes Putin amid Russian mobilization, nuclear rhetoric

Says Ukraine invasion ‘violated the core tenets’ of U.N. charter

President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on Sept. 21. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on Sept. 21. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)
Posted September 21, 2022 at 1:31pm

President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered another rebuke to Russia over the country's invasion of Ukraine.

"Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter, no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force," Biden said in remarks at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The speech came the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an address to his home country that raised the specter of using nuclear weapons as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

"Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime. Now Russia is calling — calling up more soldiers to join the fight," Biden said. "And the Kremlin is organizing sham referenda to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter."

Putin's mobilization could lead to the call up of as many as 300,0o00 Russian reservists, according to National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby.

"He has suffered tens of thousands of casualties," Kirby said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "He has terrible morale, unit cohesion on the battlefield, command and control has still not been solved. He's got desertion problems, and he's forcing the wounded back into the fight, so clearly manpower is a problem. He feels like he's on his back foot."

Kirby, who appeared on ABC before Biden spoke at the U.N., said that there would be "severe consequences" if Putin were to order the use of nuclear weapons.

"This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened, but no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict," Biden said.

Biden said that a nuclear war could not be won by Russia or anyone else, and he also called for an overhaul of the membership of the U.N. Security Council, without calling for the formal ouster of Russia from the permanent membership.

"I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive, so that it can better respond to the needs of today's world. Members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States should consistently uphold and defend the U.N. Charter and refrain — refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare extraordinary situations to ensure that the council remains credible and effective," Biden said.

"That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and nonpermanent representatives of the council. This includes permanent seats for those nations we have long supported, and permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean," he said.

A senior State Department official was quoted by CNN ahead of the president's remarks highlighting the longstanding support of the United States for permanent seats on the security council for Germany, India and Japan.

Among the commitments being announced by the president Tuesday were over $2.9 billion for global food security and "up to $6 billion" in support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the seventh replenishment conference, which Biden was scheduled to host later Wednesday.

The president also spoke about other global challenges, including his ongoing support for a restoration of a multinational agreement on Iran's nuclear capabilities. Biden also said, "The United States is clear, we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."