Biden: Russia's invasion of Ukraine is 'illegal war of conquest'

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly inside the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 6 | U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly inside the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 19 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Tuesday told the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that the United States continues to stand firmly behind Ukraine as it continues to fight off an invasion from Russia.

In front of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other world leaders in New York, Biden called Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine an "illegal war of conquest" brought on by Moscow.


"No nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine," Biden said. "We strongly support Ukraine in its effort to bring about a diplomatic resolution that is just and lasting peace. Russia alone bears responsibility. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. Russia alone stands in the way of peace."

Biden said Russia and its President Vladimir Putin believe that the "world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence" but the United States and its allies will remain steadfast in their commitment to Ukraine.


In his speech, Biden said he is willing to work with other countries on the growing technology of artificial intelligence, which he said holds "enormous potential and enormous peril."

"We need to be sure it is used as tools of opportunity and not weapons of oppression," Biden said, adding that he wanted to make sure AI was safe for the public and for tech leaders to have a hold on the technology where "we govern this technology and not the other way around, it governing us."

Biden also expressed concern about democracies being toppled around the world, particularly in Africa, where elected leaders are being overthrown.

"This work is as urgent and important as ever," Biden said supporting democratic governments. "We will not retreat from the values that make us strong. We will defend democracy, the best tool to face challenges around the world."

Zelensky was also scheduled to speak Tuesday in his first appearance at U.N. headquarters, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be among the 40 world leaders in attendance.

During the meeting of world leaders, Biden was expected to sit down with the presidents of five Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- as part of the so-called C5+1 presidential summit, with talks focused on climate, trade, regional security, digital connectivity and political reforms.


Biden was also scheduled to meet with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to discuss strengthening the U.S. partnership with the global body, which was created after World War II to promote unity among nations.

Later Tuesday, Biden will host the traditional reception, where he'll rub elbows with government leaders from around the world before returning to the White House for the night.

On Wednesday, Biden will meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva before joining a rally hosted by U.S. and Brazilian labor leaders to highlight rights for workers.

He will also sit down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss regional security issues and compare notes on ways to counter an increasingly aggressive Iran.

The U.N. conference takes place as 32 countries across four continents adopted the Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation pact, in which Atlantic coastal nations across Africa, Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean agreed to work together on economic development, environmental protection and science and technology.

Inside the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly

Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and philanthropist and investor Bill Gates, pose for a group photo when non-profit organization Japan Society hosts a Universal Health Coverage Forum at U.N. Headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2023. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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