Biden tells Naval Academy grads Putin is trying to ‘eliminate’ Ukrainian culture and identity

‘Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he's really trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Friday 27 May 2022 16:45
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Biden tells Naval Academy grads Putin is trying to ‘eliminate identity' of Ukrainian people

President Joe Biden on Friday accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin of trying to eliminate Ukraine not only as an independent nation through invasion, but as a source of identity and culture for its’ people by attacking educational and cultural sites throughout the country.

Mr Biden accused the Russian leader of cultural genocide while speaking to newly-commissioned ensigns and second lieutenants at the United States Naval Academy’s commencement ceremony, after warning the academy’s Class of 2022 that they were starting their careers at an “inflection point” in both American and world history.

“The challenges we face, the choices we make, are more consequential than ever,” he said, adding that the next 10 years will be “the decisive decade” of the 21st century and would “shape what our world looks like and the values that will guide it … for generations to come”.

“Over the past few years, we've seen how interconnected the world is. The deadly pandemic impacted not just your own schooling, but almost every aspect of our lives,” Mr Biden continued, listing such examples as supply chain disruptions, climate change, and “Putin‘s brutal, brutal war in Ukraine”.

“Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he's really trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people. Attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums, with no other purpose than to and eliminate a culture,” he said. He added that the Russian war against Ukraine is also “a direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule based international order”.

Continuing, Mr Biden said the Naval Academy graduates were entering a world that would “more than ever” require “strong, principled, engaged American leadership,” and that “the most powerful tool” they would have is America’s “unmatched network” of alliances and partnerships around the world.

Returning to the topic of Mr Putin’s war on Ukraine, the president said it had “spurred a truly global response” from US allies.

“We're seeing the world align not in terms of geography, east and west, Pacific and Atlantic but in terms of values,” he said.

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