President Joe Biden is set to address the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning at UN headquarters in New York City. Crucially it will come hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin in his own major speech addressing the Ukraine conflict announced a ‘partial mobilization’ of national forces – or rather of reserve units, as the Kremlin is now clarifying.
Calling the moves “urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia,” Putin said that Russia is fighting the full might of NATO. The US and its allies, he said, are seeking to “destroy” Russia.
President Biden’s UNGA speech is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.(eastern). Watch Live:
Putin also accused the west of using “nuclear blackmail” against Russia noting that “if its territorial integrity is threatened Russia will definitely use all the means at its disposal” to defend Russian territory. “This is not a bluff,” he had stressed. US officials were quick to condemn what they said is a severe “escalation” of the “war of aggression” against Ukraine. Putin’s speech additionally included an order for fresh mobilization of 300,000 “reservists”. The White House issued an initial statement saying it takes Putin’s words about nuclear weapons “seriously” – but that it still doesn’t see the need to increase America’s nuclear readiness and strategic deterrents.
Given that Biden’s UN remarks are coming the same day as Putin’s significant new declaration – being widely viewed as a new strategy of using the fuller might of the Russian military’s blunt forces amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the east – which has seen some success, all eyes will be on Biden and his potentially outlining a specific response, including the likelihood of more sanctions.
He’s also expected to announce $2.9 billion for a fund aimed at mitigating global food insecurity, in part driven by the seven-month Ukraine conflict.