Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he is determined to pursue a “unifying international agenda” as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as nations meet in New York City for the 77th General Assembly.
The meeting is the first in person assembly since the pandemic began, and Russia’s deadly invasion of Ukraine is expected to be a major talking point among world leaders.
Despite calls for a diplomatic ban, the U.S. said last week it would allow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to land in the U.S. and attend the New York-based meeting.
“We will not deviate from our sovereign course, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, we intend to further promote a unifying international agenda,” Putin said from Moscow according to state-owned news outlet RIA.
The Kremlin chief claimed Russia plans to work with the global community to “contribute to the search for effective responses to the numerous challenges and threats of our time and contribute to the settlement of acute regional conflicts.”
Putin’s comments come just one week after he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with China and accused Western nations, like the U.S., of taking “ugly” strides to maintain a “unipolar” world – a sentiment he again echoed Tuesday.
“Such an objective development towards multipolarity, unfortunately, runs into the resistance of those who are trying to maintain the role of hegemon in world affairs and control everything,” he added.
Putin has taken issue with Washington’s support for Kyiv amid Russia’s deadly war in Ukraine and has repeatedly warned the U.S. of becoming more directly involved.
Though on Tuesday, he claimed his comments on moving towards a “polycentric world” were “outside the context of the events that are taking place in Ukraine.”
The majority of U.N. nations have condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine, and 93 nations voted in May to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, while 58 nations abstained and 24 voted against it.
Russia has signaled it has no plans to back down in its war in Ukraine despite recent military losses in the north and reports of troop and supply shortages in the south.
On Tuesday occupying officials in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions said they would hold referendums to annex the regions starting this week.
Ukrainian and international officials have condemned these referendums as illegitimate despite Moscow’s claims that local Ukrainians will “vote” on whether they want to remain a part of Ukraine.
The move echoes steps taken by Russian in 2014 in what international officials have deemed was a falsified election in Crimea, when results allegedly showed that some 97% of voters supported the Ukrainian region joining Russia.
Reporting later showed that only 30% of Crimeans actually voted in the process and of the voters only 15% supported Crimea’s annexation.