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MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia would pursue its “sovereign course” on the international stage, ahead of the UN General Assembly.

After two years of pandemic restrictions and video addresses, the annual summit is returning in person on Tuesday, with the UN again asking leaders to come in person if they wish to speak – with the sole exception made for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“As for Russia, we will not deviate from our sovereign course,” the Russian leader said in televised remarks Tuesday.

He said that Russia as a permanent member of the Security Council would work towards unity, help tackle global problems and “contribute to the settlement of acute regional conflicts”.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will address the General Assembly this year.

Putin, during a televised meeting with newly appointed foreign ambassadors in Moscow, cautioned that global development was being hindered by the role of the United States abroad.

Putin hails ‘new centres of power’ at summit with Asian leaders

“Unfortunately, the development of a multipolar world is meeting resistance from those who are trying to retain their role as hegemon and control everything in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa,” he said in an opaque reference to the West and the United States.

“This hegemon has been doing quite well for quite a long time, but it cannot go on like this forever, it is impossible,” the Russian leader said.

The first day of the General Assembly will feature French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the leaders of the two largest economies of the European Union, which has mobilised to impose tough sanctions over what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

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