“We’re navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” Biden said as he sat facing the leaders of India, Australia and Japan.
“The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And the innocent civilians have been killed in the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced, as well as exiled. And this is more than just a European issue, it’s a global issue.”
Biden warned that President Vladimir Putin is “trying to extinguish a culture,” pointing to Russia’s targeting of Ukrainian schools, churches and museums.
The US, he said, will continue its work with partners to “lead a global response.”
Russia’s invasion, Biden later added, “only heightens the importance” of the Quad’s goals and shared values.
“Fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law, human rights must always be defended, regardless of where they’re violated. So the Quad has a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.
The comments come as the White House has said Biden intends to speak during the summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- who has resisted US pressure to punish Russia -- about how to strengthen US-India ties, a suggestion he hopes to wean Delhi off its reliance on Russian-made arms.
Biden reiterated his belief that the world is at a “transformative moment” and a question of whether democracies can prevail over autocracies.
He commended Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s “extraordinary leadership” as he thanked his host.
Biden also welcomed and congratulated Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese -- who was sworn into office this week -- into the group of world leaders, joking that it was “okay” if he fell asleep during the summit.
“We greatly appreciate your commitment to being here so soon after taking office,” Biden said.
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