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At Quad summit, Biden hits out at Russia, terms Ukraine invasion a ‘dark hour in our shared history’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a ‘global issue’, not just a European one, says US President Joe Biden.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
May 24, 2022 9:31:44 am
Australian PM Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Japan PM Fumio Kishida and PM Narendra Modi at Quad Summit in Tokyo, Japan. (Twitter/MEA)

At the fourth Quad leaders’ summit – second since the Russian invasion of Ukraine – US President Joe Biden on Tuesday hit out at Russia and called the war a “dark hour in our shared history”.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi listening along with Japan PM Fumio Kishida and Australian PM Anthony Albanese, Biden said that this is more than just a European issue and called it “a global issue.” “As long as Russia continues this war we are going to be partners and lead a global response,” Biden said.

Biden said the leaders were gathering at “this transformative moment in the world – we are at a transformative moment.” He thanked Prime Minister Kishida for hosting and said it was good to see Prime Minister Modi in person and thanked him “for your continued commitment to making sure democracies deliver”.

Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday said that the Quad is working towards a “constructive agenda” and is a “force for good”.

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Biden, who then spoke about the importance of the Quad in responding to Covid-19, partnering on 5G supply chains and launching the Quad fellowship programme, devoted much of his remarks focused on the war in Ukraine.

“At the same, we are navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” Biden said. “Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And innocent civilians are put into the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced as well as exiled.”

“This is more than just a European issue. It’s a global issue. The fact is that when you turn on the television and see what Russia’s doing now, it appears to me that Putin is trying to extinguish a culture. He’s not trying to hit military targets any more, he’s taking out every school, every culture, every natural history museum,” Biden said.

“As long as Russia continues this war, we are going to be partners and lead a global response,” Biden said.

Prime Minister Modi said that the Quad grouping has assumed an important place in the world stage and the scope has expanded. He called for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. He said that despite Covid-19 posing challenges, the Quad grouping has delivered on vaccines, climate action, supply chain resilience, disaster response and economic assistance. He said that this ensures peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida opened the meeting by welcoming the leaders and thanking new Australian PM Albanese for coming to the meeting so soon after his election.

Kishida said it was important for the leaders to get together to make a “firm commitment” to “a free and open Indo-Pacific” and spoke about some of the topics of the meeting, including climate change countermeasures, maritime issues and technology.

Albanese said it was an honour that one of his first acts as Prime Minister was to attend the Quad meetings. “We are committed to the Quad,” he said, adding that Australia would be taking ambitious action on climate change, including a new target to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.

Biden joked with Prime Minister Albanese: “If you fall asleep while you’re here, that’s okay,” noting that he had just been elected.

The meeting started with the four leaders seated at separate white tables with their key officials seated behind them.

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