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Biden wants to give Ukraine billions, but can't spare two minutes for Kyiv in UN speech

Biden's remarks come ahead of Zelensky's planned congressional address in which he is expected to urge lawmakers to approve additional funds for the war.

Published: September 19, 2023 5:49pm

President Joe Biden has called on Congress to approve an additional $24 billion in aid to Ukraine amid its flagging counteroffensive against invading Russian forces, but spent remarkably little time on the ongoing conflict during his speech to the United Nations.

Biden addressed the United Nations on Tuesday, during which he addressed an array of topics, but barely mentioned Ukraine ahead of President Volodymyr Zelensky's address to the international body on the same day.

"Certain principles in our international system are sacrosanct: sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights," he said. "These are the core tenants of the UN charter, the pillars of peaceful relations among nations, without which we cannot achieve any of our goals. That has not changed."

"Yet, for the second year in a row, this gathering, dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflict, is darkened by the shadow of war. An illegal war of conquest, brought without provocation by Russia against its neighbor Ukraine," Biden went on. "Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. And it's Russia alone that stands in the way of peace because Russia's price for peace is Ukraine's capitulation, Ukraine's territory, and Ukraine's children."

Biden further expressed support for Ukraine's continued efforts and warned other nations that they would not be secure if the world permitted Russia to seize territory from the country. From Biden's first mention of Ukraine to the conclusive declaration of support for Kyiv, Biden spent just under two minutes discussing the conflict.

The brief acknowledgement of the conflict prompting even the New York Times to note that "Biden spent remarkably little time focusing on Ukraine, especially compared to last year, when it was the core of his speech."

Biden's remarks come ahead of Zelensky's planned congressional address in which he is expected to urge lawmakers to approve additional funds for the war.

His timing appears to be sub-optimal, however, as House Republicans are currently in bitter negotiations within their conference and with Democrats over the approval of supplemental spending packages. Complicating matters is a stalwart group of House conservatives that have pushed for aggressive spending cuts and a cessation of aid to Kyiv as the United States struggles to contend with its mounting national debt.

Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds on Tuesday bluntly told reporters that "[t]here's no money in the House right now for Ukraine. It's not there."

"It’s not a good time for him to be here, quite frankly. That's just the reality," he added, in reference to Zelensky. "What's happened with Ukraine is frankly the fault of leadership of Joe Biden. Let's be very clear on that."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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