President Joe Biden criticized Russia on Sept. 21 over its invasion of Ukraine as well as a recent Kremlin announcement to mobilize hundreds of thousands of military reserve troops to active service.
“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation,” he said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russian aggression.”
Biden also mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent comments to deploy more troops, as well as his veiled warning about nuclear weapons by saying that the United States is “not seeking a new Cold War” with Russia.
While there were few new details provided in the speech, Biden said that the conflict is about ending “Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Wherever you are, whatever you believe, that should ... make your blood run cold.”
In a seven-minute nationally televised address, Putin warned the West that he isn’t bluffing over using everything at his disposal to protect Russia—an apparent reference to his nuclear arsenal. He has previously told the West not to back Russia against the wall and has rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to Ukraine.
The total number of reservists to be called up could be as high as 300,000, officials said.
In his address, the Russian leader accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail” and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia.”
“To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction ... and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said. “It’s not a bluff.”
Other than Biden, several Western leaders claimed that Putin’s speech represented an escalation in the conflict.
Since the war began on Feb. 24, the United States has provided Ukraine’s government with more than $50 billion in aid, including billions of dollars in military assistance.