By Arab News
By Alex Whiteman
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday excoriated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for making “irresponsible threats” of nuclear warfare in Europe as Moscow continues to lose ground in Ukraine.
Accusing the West of “nuclear blackmail” before referring to Moscow’s own access to “lots of weapons to reply,” Putin announced a partial mobilization of Russians of fighting age in the hope of reversing the country’s recent military losses.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Biden condemned both the decision and its associated provocations, urging the end of the war on just terms.
Biden added: “Like you, the US wants this war to end on just terms, because you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.
“Yet the only nation standing in the way of this is Russia. We must be clear, firm and unwavering in our resolve.
“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the UN Charter, no more so than by taking a neighbor’s territory by force.
“As we speak, Putin has made nuclear threats against Europe, called up more recruits to join this reckless fight, and has initiated a sham referendum in an effort to annex these countries by force. This is a needless war.”
Alongside the more than $25 billion donated by the US to Ukraine so far since the start of the conflict in February, a further 40 nations have contributed “billions” more to the effort, Biden said.
He stressed that the US is working closely with its allies to hold Russia accountable over Ukraine.
“If nations can pursue imperial ambitions without consequences, we put everything this institution (the UN) exists for at risk,” he said.
“A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought. The Security Council’s permanent members confirmed this in January, but today Russia is making irresponsible threats on the use of nuclear weapons.”
Going beyond the war in Europe, Biden said the world is in a moment of “great upheaval,” pointing to the fallout of the pandemic, drought and worsening food shortages.
But he nonetheless considered democracy as the “greatest instrument” available to humanity to address the growing list of challenges being faced, and urged the commencement of an “era of relentless diplomacy” to tackle the interlocked crises.
“The time has come for this institution to become more inclusive and more representative of the world,” he added.
“Members of the Security Council must uphold the principles of the charter and refrain from use of the veto power, and it is for this reason that the US supports expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members to the council.
“This institution is, at its core, an act of dauntless hope. The challenges we face today are great indeed, but our capacity is greater still.”