President has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing ‘genocide’ in , after previously stopping short of calling the Bucha killings by that term.
Speaking from Iowa on Tuesday afternoon, Biden called the atrocities in the Ukrainian city a genocide owed to a dictator – an apparent reference to Putin.
‘Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,’ Biden said in his and inflation.
Biden had refrained from calling the Bucha atrocities a genocide when reporters asked him last week. Instead, .
‘You may remember I was criticized for calling Putin a war criminal. Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha,’ Biden said. ‘This warrants him – he is a war criminal.’
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the time also said the killings did not rise to the level of what the US government defines as a genocide.
‘Based on what we have seen so far, we have seen atrocities, we have seen war crimes. We have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide,’ Sullivan said. ‘But, again, that’s something we will continue to monitor.’
The US’s official definition of genocide is ‘an act against members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part’.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky quickly called the killings in Bucha a genocide. More than 300 bodies have been found in Bucha and the surrounding area, with children accounting for at least 10 of the dead, according to officials. More than 250 civilians were Ki**ed using bullets or shrapnel.
On Tuesday, Biden later affirmed to reporters his belief that Putin committed genocide.
‘It’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian,’ Biden said. ‘The evidence is mounting.’
He added: ‘And we’re gonna only learn more and more about the devastation and we’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies but it sure seems that way to me.’
Zelensky commended Biden for acknowledging the genocide.
‘Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil,’ he tweeted. ‘We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.’
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