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US President Joe Biden has called on world leaders to oppose early peace talks that could lead to the breakup of Ukraine, arguing that firm opposition to Russia’s goal of winning large tracts of land will deter future incursions into independent countries.

Biden made the call during his annual speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, in the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Biden warned that Russia was betting that the world was growing “tired” of the conflict and would allow Moscow to “brutalize Ukraine with no consequences.”

Biden said that while the United States supports a diplomatic solution to the war, Russia’s “price for peace” is “Ukrainian surrender, Ukrainian territory and Ukrainian children.”

“Let me ask you: If we abandon the core principles of the United Nations Charter to appease an aggressor, can any member state be confident that it is protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is any country’s independence safe?” Biden asked . “The answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other potential aggressors tomorrow.”

The U.S. president’s comments came as he prepares to host Zelensky in Washington later this week for talks on war, Ukraine’s counteroffensive in recent months to regain land from occupying Russian forces Progress is slower than expected. The Biden administration is urging Congress to approve new aid to Kyiv amid increasingly tense budget negotiations on Capitol Hill.

This month, the United States backed a G20 statement issued at a leaders’ summit in New Delhi that downplayed some of its strongest condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine but emphasized the importance of maintaining territorial integrity.

In his speech to the United Nations, Biden said that Washington aimed to “responsibly manage” competition with China to avoid “falling into conflict” and reiterated that the US government supports “de-risking” rather than “decoupling” from China.

“We will fight back against aggression and intimidation and defend the rules of the road, from freedom of navigation to freedom of overflight, to a level economic playing field that has helped maintain security and prosperity for decades,” Biden said. “But we are also ready to work together when we are needed. Cooperate with China on issues that require hard work to make progress.”

Biden used the speech to try to drum up more support for a U.S. effort launched at the G20 summit to bolster the coffers of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to increase financing for developing countries. He also said that the heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods that have swept countries around the world in recent weeks tell us “what awaits us if we cannot reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

The president’s speech comes at a turning point in U.S. diplomacy as the United States seeks to build alliances and partnerships, including in developing countries, to provide more desirable economic and strategic alternatives to China’s growing influence in many countries.

This year, Biden has strengthened U.S. ties with India, repaired ties with Saudi Arabia and established a new partnership with Vietnam, among other measures. On the economic and scientific front, the United States this week launched an Atlantic cooperation initiative that includes traditional allies in the North Atlantic such as the United Kingdom, Portugal and Canada, as well as African and Latin American countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Brazil and Argentina.

Biden also said in his speech that the United States hopes to “strengthen” rules on the use of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

“We need to ensure they are used as tools of opportunity rather than weapons of oppression.”


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