Russian President Vladimir Putin

NEWS: Biden to face spotlight in UN General Assembly, while Xi and Putin are no-shows

President Biden faces a brisk itinerary at the UN General Assembly this week, including high-profile talks with the heads of Brazil, Israel and Ukraine.

Those meetings come as Biden is expected to be the only member of the five-nation UN Security Council leaders slated to attend the event.

Other world leaders, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are skipping the annual gathering, in addition to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

UNGA comes on the heels of the Similar to the Group of 20 meeting in New Delhi, India, earlier this month, where both Xi and Putin skipped the event.

Putin is facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court that many have speculated has deterred a visit and Xi will send vice president, Han Zheng on his behalf.

Xi’s and Putin’s absences will leave Biden with a potential diplomatic opening to make inroads with developing nations in Africa, Latin America and Asia, whom the US has been keen on peeling away from both Russia’s and China’s orbits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be skipping the event.
AFP via Getty Images

At the event, Biden is expected to meet with both Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Then, on Thursday, Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House for talks, marking the third such visit from Ukraine since Biden took office.

In all three cases, Biden has significant diplomatic objectives pending in the background.

The administration has been eager to expand upon the Abraham Accords that former President Donald Trump helped broker — ushering in a normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Biden and Netanyahu have publicly clashed over Israel’s judicial overhaul, which imposes limits on the types of laws the country’s Supreme Court can strick down from the Knesset.

Volodymyr Zelensky
On Thursday, Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House for talks, marking the third such visit from Ukraine since Biden took office.
AFP via Getty Images

But the two have publicly contended that their rapport remains friendly despite some of their differences.

Last week, following the Group of 20 summit, Lula stoked international backlash claiming that Brazil would not arrest Putin during next year’s G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil is widely seen as an important ally in South America. Lula later backpedaled his comments and suggested he would let the justice system play out.

But the episode underscores some concerns about Brazil’s position on Moscow.

Biden has been seeking to rally nations against Russia in defense of Ukraine.

He is also seeking to do the same at home. Zelensky’s visit to Washington, DC, comes at a time when Congress is battling over government funding.

A handful of House Republicans are eager to slash funding for Ukraine amid a brewing government shutdown fight.

Biden is asking Congress for $13.1 billion in additional military aid and $8.5 billion in humanitarian assistance.

Thus far, Congress has approved over $113 billion in both military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded Feb. 22, 2022, according to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.

But not all of those funds have necessarily been deployed yet.

In July, the Defense Department said it had committed $43 billion in security assistance since the war broke out in February of last year.

The UNGA high level event is slated to take place from Sept. 19 to 26.

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