By Steve Holland
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will use his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to make a strong appeal to world leaders to support Ukraine in the fight against Russian invaders – and he hopes that Republicans in Congress will notice this too.
Biden’s speech at the annual meeting is the centerpiece of his three-day visit to New York, which will include meetings with the heads of five Central Asian countries, and the leaders of Israel and Brazil.
Biden, a Democrat, has made rallying U.S. allies in support of Ukraine a leading part of U.S. foreign policy, arguing that the world must send a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he will not be able to to survive.
“We rallied the world to support Ukraine and unite NATO because I was convinced in the beginning that Putin was counting on NATO not staying together and that that would be enough” for victory, Biden said during an election campaign fundraiser in New York. Monday.
But Biden has faced criticism from some Republicans who want the United States to spend less money there. Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, has argued that he would seek a quick end to the war if re-elected.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in Washington, has questioned whether the US should continue sending billions in weapons to Ukraine.
In his speech, Biden aims to argue that Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and occupation of territory violates the UN Charter, of which respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is a key principle, US officials said.
“He will make a strong case for why supporting Ukraine really matters, not just for our national security, but for upholding the UN Charter and the idea of sovereignty and territorial integrity and what that all means,” said one high government. official said.
Another administration official said Biden and U.S. officials would also focus on mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development and combating climate change.
A solid majority of Americans support supplying weapons to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia and believe such assistance demonstrates a will to China and other U.S. rivals to protect U.S. interests and allies, a survey by Reuters/Ipsos in June.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to visit Biden at the White House on Thursday and also meet with some congressional leaders.
The United States is preparing a new military aid package for Ukraine to coincide with his visit, and has asked Congress to approve billions more in security assistance for the rest of the year.
“We are confident there will be bipartisan support for this. I think President Zelenskiy does too,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.
After his speech, Biden will sit down with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to discuss the world’s hotspots.
He will later attend a summit with the presidents of five Central Asian countries, a first. They are Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
On Wednesday, Biden will meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Lula and join him at an event with labor leaders from Brazil and the United States.
On Wednesday, Biden will also have his first in-person meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since Netanyahu returned to power last December.
Sullivan said they would “discuss a vision for a more stable, prosperous and integrated region, and compare notes on effectively countering and deterring Iran.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)