Live Updates

September 21, 2022: Biden and Zelensky address UN General Assembly

UN Ambassador: Russia will be condemned at UNGA over war crimes

What we covered

  • US President Joe Biden declared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a violation of the global order during his address to the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • In a pre-recorded speech, President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that Russia be punished for its crimes in Ukraine.
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the UN, “Iran is not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons,” while accusing the West of hypocrisy on a number of issues.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about the events Wednesday in the posts below.

27 Posts

Zelensky outlines 5-point plan for peace in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the UN General Assembly on Wednesday in a pre-recorded speech that focused on the Russian war launched on Feb. 24. 

He outlines five preconditions for peace during his speech:

  • Punishment for aggression 
  • Protection of life 
  • Restoration of security and territorial integrity 
  • Security guarantees 
  • Determination to defend oneself 

Here are the key lines from Zelensky’s remarks:

  • The Ukrainian president called for Russia to be punished: “A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory” and for the murder of thousands of people.
  • Zelensky said the entire world wants peace, with the exception of Russia: “Ukraine wants peace, Europe wants peace, the world wants peace, and we have seen who is the only one who wants war,” he said, alluding to President Vladimir Putin, without mentioning his name. “There is only one entity among all UN member states, who would say now, if he could interrupt my speech that he’s happy with this war, with his war.” Zelensky said.
  • Zelensky said he believed Ukrainian territories will be liberated over time: “We can return the Ukraine flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms, but we need time.”
  • Russia should lose UN veto power: Zelensky called for Russia, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to lose its veto power. “So long as the aggressor is party to decision making in the international organization you must be insulated from them, at least until aggression stops.”
  • Special tribunal to punish Russia: Zelensky called for the creation of a special tribunal to punish Russia. “This will become a signal to all would-be aggressors, that they must value peace or be brought to responsibility by the world.”

Zelensky received a standing ovation from most delegates after his speech. The Russian delegation remained seated and did not applaud.

Zelensky says Russia is the only entity happy about the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that the entire world wanted peace in his country, with the exception of Russia.

“Ukraine wants peace. Europe wants peace. The world wants peace,” he said in a pre-recorded speech.

There is “only one entity” among all UN member states that was happy with “his” war, Zelensky said, alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin without saying his name, adding, “We will not let this entity” prevail over us.

The president said Ukraine had shown strength on the battlefield by using its right to self-defense.

Zelensky says Russia needs to be punished for its crimes in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remotely addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded “just punishment” for the crimes Russia has committed since the invasion of Ukraine.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky told the UN General Assembly in his pre-recorded address.

Ukraine wanted Russia punished for trying to steal territory and for the murder of thousands of people, he said.

In addition:

“Punishment for tortures and humiliation of women and men. Punishment for the catastrophic turbulence that Russia provoked with its illegal war and not only for us, Ukrainians, but for the whole world.”

Russia's partial mobilization is a sign of desperation, Lithuanian foreign minister says

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Wednesday that Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization announcement is “a sign of desperation,” but downplayed the Russian President’s nuclear saber-rattling.

“They are losing, the front has been breached by the successful counteroffensive from Ukraine and this is Putin’s answer: more escalation,” Landsbergis told CNN on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “I think it has to be met with, first of all, with calm and resolve. He expects us to be afraid, but we have to be prepared.”

In remarks overnight, Putin threatened to use “all means” at his disposal to respond to the West, saying, “I’d like to remind them that our country has also various similar weapons and in some cases more modern weapons than NATO. In order to protect our people and in order to protect Russia, we will definitely use all means.”

Landsbergis said he believes the Russian leader is bluffing.

“I’m more worried about the people who are worried about this than about actual saber-rattling,” he said.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Putin is an aggressive actor, that Russia is an aggressive country. We should not have expected him just to have a limited conflict with Ukraine, limited war,” Landsbergis added.

Hungary's president urges documentation and investigation of war crimes in Ukraine

Hungarian President Katalin Novák addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

Hungary’s President Katalin Novák said the “threat of escalation” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should prompt concern and action from UN member states.

At the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Novák called for the documentation, investigation and prosecution of war crimes by the relevant international institutions.

“No crimes committed can go unpunished,” she added, arguing that declaring peace should be a major priority in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. She said the United Nation’s purpose for being formed in the first place was to establish and create peace.

“What do we want in the UN? To win the war? We should not stand to win any war. We need to stand for restoring the peace,” Novák said.

The president said Hungary has provided aid to the Ukrainian people since the start of the conflict, sheltering more than 1 million refugees.

Some context: Hungary is among a handful of eastern European countries that are particularly reliant on Russian oil that is delivered through pipelines, and have few immediate alternatives.

Also, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Putin’s closest ally in Europe, threatened to veto proposed sanctions on Russian oil in May that the other 26 member states have approved.

Additionally, at the end of August, Hungary’s nuclear regulator granted a construction license for two new reactors to be built by Russia’s Rosatom under a 2014 deal signed between Budapest and Moscow. The project has often been cited as evidence of warm ties between Orban and Putin.

Von der Leyen calls for new sanctions on Russia

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends the 77th United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told CNN on Wednesday that she believes the latest move from Russian President Vladimir Putin calls for a new round of European Union sanctions against Russia. 

“President Putin is showing his weakness now because what you see is that he tries to mobilize personnel that is less trained, less experience, less motivated and he wants to start sham referenda on Ukrainian sovereign soil. So I think this calls for sanctions from our part again,” von der Leyen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview.  

Earlier in the day, Putin announced an immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens, marking the biggest escalation since the start of his war in Ukraine. 

After the interview, von der Leyen gave the Amanpour program this statement, confirming her commitment to fresh sanctions against Moscow: 

“We stand ready to impose further economic costs on Russia and on individuals and entities inside and outside of Russia who support, politically or economically. Plus we will propose additional export controls on civilian technology as Russia moves to a full war economy.” 

During the interview, the EU leader hailed the effect of sanctions so far, saying they are “really biting.” 

When Amanpour asked about the Russian leader’s nuclear rhetoric in his recent address, von der Leyen said “Putin has nuclear weapons, that’s a fact, but will never bow to blackmail.” 

Putin's original plan for Ukraine "has turned into a long nightmare," Latvia's president says

Latvia's President Egils Levits addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

Latvia’s President Egils Levits said that President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization because Russia’s “once mighty army is overwhelmed” by the Ukrainian forces.

He dismissed the recent announcement of “illegal referenda” on the annexation of the occupied territories in Ukraine to the Russian Federation as another sign of desperation.

“This is a blatant contravention of both Ukrainian and international law,” he said.

“Latvia will not recognize the legitimacy of these referenda and their results. I call on the international community to do likewise,” he added. 

Levits said despite the commencement of legal action against Russia by the International Criminal Court and International Court, a legal gap existed.

“No international court has jurisdiction over as a main issue the starting of a war of aggression, the gravest violation of the charter of United Nations and to international law,” Levits said.

To rectify the problem, the Latvian leader called on the international community to form a special tribunal to investigate Russia’s invasion.

"We all want peace": Moldova president pays tribute to families to helped Ukrainian refugees

Moldova's President Maia Sandu addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

Maia Sandu, the president of Moldova, spoke directly to families in her country, thanking them for “opening their homes and hearts” to millions of Ukraine refugees.

In remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Sandu said she represents a country that wants peace. She pointed out that Moldovan people speak a diverse range of languages — including Ukrainian and Russian — but “regardless of our ethnicity” or political preferences, “we all want peace.”

Sandu paid tribute to all Moldovan families who showed “unprecedented solidarity with refugees by opening their homes and hearts to those in need” during the war.

Moldova, which has about 2.6 million people, sheltered more than half a million refugees fleeing the war. At its peak, Moldova’s population grew by 4% as Ukrainians crossed the border, the Moldovan president said. Sandu said about 800,000 refugees chose to stay in the country.

“It is our moral duty as an international community to continue supporting Ukraine,” the president said.

Sandu’s address comes as Moldova was granted European Union candidate status in June. During her remarks, she said is grateful for the support from member states and for the “recognition and vote of trust in our love for freedom” and democracy.

“By applying to join the European Union, we want the world to know we choose democracy over autocracy, liberty over oppression, peace over war, and prosperity over poverty,” Sandu said.

Biden holding bilateral meeting with UK prime minister on the sidelines of UNGA

US President Joe Biden is holding a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Liz Truss on Wednesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The meeting was set to start at 1:15 p.m. ET, according to the White House.

Biden said he and Truss would discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, China and energy security among other things during their bilateral meeting at the United Nations. 

“We have a full agenda today,” Biden said. 

The President also congratulated Truss on her ascent to the premiership and said that he looked forward to working together “closely.”  

“I want to extend my congratulations to you madam prime minister for becoming prime minister and I look forward to working closely with you — you’re our closest ally in the world. There’s a lot we can continue to do together,” Biden said. 

Iranian president points finger back at the West on human rights amid ongoing deadly protests in Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers remarks at the U.N. headquarters on Wednesday, September 21.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday accused the West of hypocrisy on women’s rights despite Iran seeing a wave of deadly protests in cities across the country over the death of a woman held in police custody for, her family claims, a religious headscarf violation.

Raisi told the United Nations General Assembly that “until we have these double standards where attention is solely focused on one side and not all equally, we will not have true justice and fairness.” 

Raisi said “human rights belong to all but unfortunately this is trampled upon by many governments,” and gave as an example, “the native tribes of Canada, whose bodies of hundreds of their children were discovered in mass graves in a school.”

The Iranian leader told the UN, “We are defenders of a fight against injustice in all of its forms, against humanity, against spirituality, against the almighty, against the people of the world, no matter where it may occur.”

Raisi made no mention of the surge of protests in his own country since Friday where there are calls for women’s rights, religious freedoms and justice for the death of 22 year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran last week. 

Amini collapsed and later died on Friday while being held by Iran’s morality police — a dedicated unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, such as wearing the compulsory headscarf.  

Ecuador president calls on UN countries to support their mission to help Venezuelan refugees

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso urged the international community to do more to help migrants fleeing dangerous situations, pointing specifically to Ecuador’s treatment of the millions of Venezuelan refugees who have come to the country.

Speaking during the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Lasso called his country a “transit country,” saying it “welcomes migrants.”

“Traditionally we have been one of the biggest host countries of refugees in the entire Western Hemisphere,” he said, adding that beyond simply welcoming refugees, Ecuador has provided assistance and social services as well as starting the legal immigration process.

He said Ecuador will “make special efforts to guarantee the rights and integration of migrants” particularly families.

“These people have no other option other than to flee,” Lasso Mendoza said. “For example half a million Venezuelans today live in Ecuador we are one of the three main destinations for migrants from this country,” he added.

He called on other UN countries to support Ecuador in its mission to help refugees, while also considering what they can do to help as well.

“This is why I repeat — Ecuador is there for the world. The world can count on Ecuador and I know that the world will support us for this plan for regularizing the status of our Venezuelan brethren who have had to flee their country,” Lasso said.

Some context: As of the end of August, more than 6 million Venezuelans have fled their country — matching Ukraine in the number of displaced people and surpassing Syria, according to the United Nations.

Deteriorating economic conditions, food shortages and limited access to health care are increasingly pushing Venezuelans to leave, and a growing Venezuelan community in the United States is also a draw, Doris Meissner, who directs US immigration policy work at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, previously told CNN.

In July, US Border Patrol apprehended 17,603 Venezuelan migrants at the US-Mexico border, marking an increase from June, according to the latest available agency data. Venezuelans have also been arriving to Washington DC and New York City on buses contracted by the state of Texas. They are often seeking political asylum.

Biden says US does not seek conflict or "cold war" with China and other countries

US President Joe Biden said that the United States does “not seek conflict” or a “cold war” with China or any other partners and reiterated the US commitment to the “One China” policy while delivering his address at the United Nations General Assembly. 

“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a cold war. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partners,” Biden said Wednesday while speaking in New York. 

Biden also reiterated that the United States seeks to “promote peace and stability” across the Taiwan strait. 

The President also said that the US opposes “unilateral changes in the status quo by either side” in regard to the “One China” policy.

"We are the authors of history": Biden calls for commitment to UN charter

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses United Nations General Assembly.

US President Biden, in his closing remarks at the United Nations General Assembly, looked back to the creation of the body and called for unity.

“My fellow leaders, the challenges we face today are great indeed, but our capacity is greater. Our commitment must be greater still,” he said.

“So let’s stand together to, again, declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the UN charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, though none of us have fully achieved it,” he said.

“We are not passive witnesses to history. We are the authors of history. We can do this. We have to do it, for ourselves and for our future, for humankind. Thank you for your tolerance for listening to me. I appreciate it very much,” he closed his statement.

Biden reiterates US "will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon"

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

US President Biden reiterated his stance that the US will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon as negotiations to revive a nuclear deal have failed to make significant progress in recent months.

“While the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Biden told the assembly.

CNN reported earlier this month that efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal again hit a snag.

The President also broadly called on world leaders to recommit to the nuclear nonproliferation regime through diplomacy, referencing other nuclear threats from Russia, China and North Korea.

“No matter what else is happening in the world, the United States is ready to pursue critical arms control measures. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The five permanent members of the security council just reaffirmed that commitment in January, but today, we’re seeing disturbing trends,” he said.

“The nonproliferation regime is one of the greatest successes of this institution. We cannot let the world now slide backwards,” he told the body. Biden also said he believes “diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.”

Biden says war in Ukraine is "worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it"

US President Biden squarely pinned the blame for the global food crisis on Russia, accusing the country of “pumping out lies” about Western sanctions amid its war in Ukraine.

“Russia … is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis — the food crisis — on the sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine. So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow, explicitly allow, Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer. No limitation,” he said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Biden lauded the UN for helping to broker a grain export deal with Ukraine and Russia, and he encouraged its extension.

Biden said as many as 193 million people around the world are experiencing acute food insecurity, “a jump of 40 million in a year.”

He also announced $2.9 billion in US support for humanitarian and food assistance.

Biden touts US investment in fight against the climate crisis

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

US President Biden said during his address to the UN General Assembly that the US has “led with bold climate agenda” since he took office.

The President then ticked off some of what he sees as his administration’s accomplishments on climate: “We rejoined the Paris agreement, helped deliver critical agreement on cop 26, helped get two-thirds of the world’s GDP on track to limit warm to go 1.5 degrees celsius.”

Biden added that he recently signed  “a historic piece of legislation that includes the biggest most important climate commitment we have ever made in the history of our country,” which includes government spending of “$369 billion toward climate change.”

Biden endorses expansion of permanent and non-permanent seats in UN Security Council to "be more inclusive"

US President Biden on Wednesday said he supports increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members in the United Nations Security Council.

“The United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the Council. This includes permanent seats for those nations we have long supported — permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean,” he detailed in his address at the UN General Assembly. “The time has come for this institution to become more inclusive, so we can better respond to the needs of today’s world.”

He also added that UNSC permanent members should consistently uphold and defend the UN charter and refrain from the use of a veto except in rare extraordinary situations to ensure the council remains credible and effective.

Biden says Russia "shamelessly violated" UN charter tenets

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21.

US President Joe Biden opened his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly in New York by speaking about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, “a war chosen by one man, to be very blunt.”

“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter,” he said.

Biden addressed Putin’s speech announcing an immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens and making a thinly veiled nuclear threat.

“President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe, and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a non-proliferation regime. Now Russia is calling up more soldiers to join the fight, and the Kremlin is organizing a sham referendum to try to annex parts of Ukraine — an extremely significant violation of the UN charter,” Biden said.

Here are the key lines you might have missed from Tuesday's official speeches

Several dozen world leaders took the podium to make remarks at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came up frequently in the speeches, while several leaders also talked about climate change and the importance of taking action against the crisis while stressing cooperation between countries.

Here are some of the key lines you might have missed:

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the international community is facing big, dramatic challenges. He added these “crises” — such as the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency and “the dire financial situation” of developing countries — “threaten the very future of humanity and the fate of our planet.”
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro called for diplomacy, not sanctions, as the best way to bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine. “The solution to the conflict in Ukraine will only be achieved through negotiation and dialogue,” he said.
  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro attacked the global north, contrasting the dangers of drug addiction to what he described as humanity’s even more damaging “addiction to power, and to money.” He also strongly condemned the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, saying “here in the Amazon jungle is a failure of humanity.”
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for an end to the “Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” and urged the world to support the “peaceful initiatives of Turkey to setting this dispute once and for all.”
  • Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö said Russia’s use of force was “in blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations.” He said the conflict was compounding pre-existing international problems.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron told his Iranian counterpart President Ebrahim Raisi that the ball is in Iran’s court regarding a nuclear deal, according to an on-camera interview the French president gave to CNN affiliate BFM TV following the meeting between the two presidents. “I’ve been clear on the framework and you can’t play with trust and security,” he said.
  • Lithuania President Gitanas Nausėda reiterated his support for Ukraine and urged UN members to address the atrocities that are being committed during the war. I call on the global community to establish this special tribunal to address the war crimes,” Nausėda said.
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda affirmed his country’s support for Ukraine and for the refugees who have fled the war-torn country — saying more than 6 million people have fled to Poland since the beginning of the war. He called on countries to increase aid to Ukrainian civilians.

"Iran is not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons," president tells the UN

President of Iran Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi delivers a pre-recorded address at the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Wednesday.

Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear weapons, Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking to build or obtain nuclear weapons, and such weapons have no place in our doctrine,” Raisi said.

Raisi accused the United States of “double standards” when speaking of Iran’s nuclear capabilities amid ongoing nuclear talks to restart the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal

Raisi said the West was treating Iran with a “lack of justice and fairness” in his address to the United Nations. 

Raisi claimed Iran was being criticized for an alleged nuclear weapons program while he said the West continued to expand its own nuclear capabilities and shared those technologies with foreign nations instead of also pursuing nuclear disarmament. 

“Countries themselves who seek to show Iran unjustly as a threat, keep pursuing nuclear weapons and development and testing,” he said. 

Raisi also claimed Iran is subjected to a disproportionate number of inspections at its nuclear facilities. 

“Only 2% of world nuclear activities are taking place in Iran, but 35% of nuclear inspections are in Iran,” Raisi claimed.

Raisi said he wants guarantees the US will not abandon the nuclear deal and said he had a great deal of doubt on the United State’s true commitment to return to the nuclear agreement.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, with goodwill, signed and accepted an agreement [JCPOA] in 2015. And in a first phase did live up to all of our commitments without any exceptions, but the result of that was the trampling upon by America on that agreement,” Raisi said.

“We’re speaking of the experience of America having left the JCPOA. And we have a year, year and a half of negotiations with the current American government for her to return to the fulfillment of her commitments,” Raisi said.

Raisi asked: “Can we truly trust without guarantees and assurances that they [United States] will this time live up to their commitment of course the Islamic Republic of Iran?” 

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Iran had taken “a step backward” with its latest response to a nuclear deal proposal, calling a near-term agreement “unlikely.”

Iran US flag JCPOA

Iran deal breakthrough hopes continue to fade

Biden to announce $2.9 billion food security investment during UN remarks, White House says

President Joe Biden is set to announce $2.9 billion in US assistance to help address global food insecurity when he speaks to the United Nations General Assembly this morning.

The $2.9 billion investment, the White House said in a fact sheet, is aimed at shoring up food supply amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, widespread inflation, and other supply chain issues, and it builds on $6.9 billion already committed by the US this year. 

It includes $2 billion in global humanitarian assistance through USAID, the US Agency for International Development.

“This funding will help save lives in countries facing food security crises, including through food and nutrition assistance, health care, safe drinking water, protection for the most vulnerable, and other vital relief,” the fact sheet said, adding, “this funding increases emergency food security programming in those countries most impacted by the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the rise in food prices and supply chain constraints resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The announcement will also include $783 million for global development assistance, which will be distributed through the Department of Agriculture, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and other entities, as well as $150 million pledged to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.

The Wednesday announcement comes ahead of a domestic effort to combat food insecurity as the White House plans to host a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health next Wednesday.

Iran seeks a "fair tribunal" on killing of General Soleimani, president says

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a photo of late Iranian General Qasem Soleimani as addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Iran is seeking justice for the killing of top Iranian commander General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in Iraq in January 2020, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi said at speech at the UNGA on Tuesday. 

Raisi called the killing a “a savage crime and illegal crime” and condemned former US President Donald Trump for ordering the killing.

Iran “will pursue through a fair tribunal to bring to justice those who martyred our beloved General Qasem Soleimani,” he added.

Here's a list of key speakers who will address the UN General Assembly today

Several leaders from around the world will address the United Nations General Assembly today. Here is a list of key figures expected to speak throughout the day:

  • Iran: President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi
  • United States: President Joe Biden
  • Hungary: President Katalin Novák
  • Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky
  • United Kingdom: Prime Minister Liz Truss
  • Czech Republic: Jan Lipavský, Minister for Foreign Affairs

For the full list of speakers, click here.

Biden expected to pitch reforms to UN Security Council as Russia continues to violate UN charter, source says

US President Joe Biden arrives in New York City on Tuesday.

President Biden is expected to build on his administration’s pitch to reform the United Nations Security Council in the face of flagrant violations of the UN charter by one of the council’s permanent members: Russia.  

“The council needs to be more representative of more of the world’s population, and it needs to be filled with countries that are ready to uphold the charter and work together on common problems,” a senior State Department official said Tuesday, ahead of Biden’s speech to the UN General Assembly.

It remains to be seen what specifically the US President will say on this matter, and if the US will put forward specific proposals this week.

“I expect that the President will speak substantively to the question of UN Security Council reform while he’s in New York. Whether he does so publicly or whether he communicates privately with the Secretary-General and others, we’re still working through today,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield noted earlier this month that the US cosponsored a “veto resolution that asks permanent members to explain their vetoes to the General Assembly.” She also said the Security Council should “better reflect the current global realities and incorporate more geographically diverse perspectives.”

Biden isn’t expected to call directly for Russia to be removed from the Security Council, but is expected to speak more specifically about reforming the council than he has previously.

One official suggested the US could push to expand the permanent members on the council.

Currently, there are five nations that have permanent seats and veto power in the council: the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

“Historically, we have named three countries that we believe should be Security Council members: Germany, Japan, India,” the senior State Department official noted. “So presumably, if the President reignites a real conversation, and we get back into serious negotiations about what it will look like, those countries that stand to benefit. We’ll be in favor of it.” 

However, they also said that “the idea is to open it more broadly,” noting that “we have whole continents that don’t have permanent representation” on the council.

Officials say this is an important matter to pursue, especially in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The senior State Department official also accused Beijing of violating the principles of the UN charter, pointing to Beijing’s response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as an example.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.

Biden will announce additional aid for global food insecurity, US secretary of state says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks at the Ministerial Meeting on Food Security during the 77th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on countries to do more to respond to the food insecurity crisis, noting that “action is crucial,” at a Global Food Security Summit held during the UN General Assembly. 

“Some countries with the capacity to do more are among those doing the least. That needs to change,” Blinken said, without naming names. “And no matter what countries have done so far, every country is called upon to do more.”

He said President Joe Biden would be announcing new assistance from the US on Wednesday. 

Blinken called for a strengthening of global food systems to increase the ability of countries to respond to shocks and the effects of the climate crisis. He said the US government will work with Congress over the next five years to invest over $11 billion toward this aim.

Blinken also called for an extension of the deal to allow Ukrainian grain to transit through the Black Sea, which is due to expire in mid-November.

Blinken noted that the agreement between Ukraine and Russia, brokered by the UN and Turkey, “should never have been necessary in the first place,” but was required after Russia’s war blocked thousands of tons of grain at Ukrainian ports. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested he could pull out of the agreement.

“It needs to keep going, it needs to be renewed, that is urgent,” Blinken said.

Biden's address is expected to focus on Ukraine

US President Joe Biden waves as he arrives in New York City on Tuesday.

US President Joe Biden has arrived in New York to attend high-level talks and deliver an address at the United Nations on Tuesday evening.

Ukraine is expected to be a primary focus for Biden during his speech on Wednesday morning and in his talks with world leaders. 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden was coming to New York with the “wind at his back” having unified the West in punishing Russia for its invasion. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine expected to be key issue during this year's UN General Assembly

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

The invasion of UN member country Ukraine by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, could cast a shadow over the entire 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

“The General Assembly is meeting at a time of great peril,” UN Secretary-Antonio Guterres said at a news conference last week. “Geostrategic divides are the widest they have been since at least the Cold War. They are paralyzing the global response to the dramatic challenges we face.”

Don’t expect this year’s General Assembly to be “business as usual,” US Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison said on Sept. 17. “Russia’s unprovoked, ongoing assault on Ukraine raises serious questions about its commitment to diplomacy, the UN Charter, and the territorial integrity of nations.”

Many UN diplomats say that Russia has put the UN’s credibility and image at stake this year by invading another UN country, with the UN unable to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop.

Here’s a look at some ways the issue could emerge at the assembly:

  • The great majority of UN membership strongly opposes Russia’s war in Ukraine. Expect Western countries to use their official speeches to bash Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will speak on Saturday, but no Western country has said if they have bilateral planned with the Russian visitor.
  • On Thursday morning, there will be a ministerial Security Council session on Thursday morning on Ukraine, with Lavrov the highest ranking member of the Russian government to attend.
  • Food security is another major topic for the global forum, with the world economy hard-hit by the pandemic, inflation and struggling supply chains. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to chair a meeting on food during the high level week.