US President Joe Biden pledged to Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy that the United States will provide Ukraine with advanced air systems after a missile barrage from Russia. The US President expressed his condemnation of Russia’s missile strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, and conveyed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks.
“President Biden pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defence systems. He also underscored his ongoing engagement with allies and partners to continue imposing costs on Russia, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance,” a White House statement on Monday said.
Biden also told Zelenskyy that the US and its allies and partners would continue imposing costs on Russia, “holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance,” the White House said.
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UN meets on Ukraine hours after Russian strikes
The UN General Assembly started debating on Monday whether to demand that Russia reverse course on annexing four regions of Ukraine -a discussion that came as Moscow’s most extensive missile strikes in months alarmed much of the international community anew. The UNGA’s special session was planned before Monday’s barrage, but countries spoke out on the widespread, Monday morning rush-hour attacks that killed at least 14 people and wounded scores.
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergey Kyslytsya said some of his own close relatives were imperiled in a residential building, unable to take cover in a bomb shelter. “By launching missile attacks on civilians sleeping in their homes or rushing toward children going to schools, Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” he said.
Russia said it targeted military and energy facilities. But some of the missiles smashed into civilian areas: a park, a commuter minibus, and more. It has said it was retaliating for what it called a Ukrainian “terrorist” attack on Saturday on an important bridge, and Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the assembly that Moscow had warned that there wouldn’t be impunity for such an act. The bridge was “civilian infrastructure, critical infrastructure”, he told reporters outside the chamber.
Ukrainian officials haven’t confirmed that Kyiv was behind the bridge attack or other incidents of apparent sabotage but have said they welcome setbacks for Russia in all territory that it has claimed to annex.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply shocked” by the Russian attacks and spoke Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. Various nations also deplored the bombardment. Turkish UN Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu, whose country helped the UN broker a July deal to get Ukrainian and Russian grain exports flowing, called Monday’s attacks “deeply worrying and unacceptable”.
Hours after the missiles flew, the UN assembly gathered to consider responding to Russia’s purported absorption last month of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. The move followed Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” that the Ukrainian government and the West have dismissed as sham votes conducted on occupied land amid warfare and displacement.
A proposed assembly resolution would demand that Moscow “immediately and unconditionally” scrap its supposed annexations and call on all countries not to recognise them. The measure, spearheaded by the European Union, also would insist upon the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from all of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory.
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Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador decried the debate as a one-sided exercise in pushing an anti-Russian narrative. “Such cynicism, confrontation and dangerous polarization as today we have never seen in the history of the UN,” Nebenzia said. He reiterated his country’s claim that the “referendums” were valid and that Moscow is endeavouring to “protect” people in the regions against what the Kremlin views as a hostile Ukrainian government.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, fielding questions on Monday in Australia, declined to say what his country thought of the measure.
The full 193-member assembly is expected to vote Wednesday or later. Russia wanted secret balloting, an unusual move that the assembly rejected, 107-13, with 39 abstentions. Russian bids to reconsider the secret ballot idea were voted down.