Washington, Apr 12 (EFE).- The president of the United States on Tuesday accused his Russian counterpart of carrying out genocide in Ukraine.
Joe Biden has accused Vladimir Putin of war crimes, but until now has stopped short of using the word “genocide.”
The US leader was speaking in Iowa about his government’s efforts to curb rising fuel prices as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank – none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away,” he said, referring to Putin and Ukraine.
Later, when questioned by a journalist on his use of the word, Biden said: “Yes, I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian.”
“And the evidence is mounting,” he said. “We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Biden in a tweet, saying his were “true words of a true leader.”
“Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil. We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities,” Zelenskyy wrote.
In recent weeks, Biden has lashed out at Putin, whom he has described as a “butcher,” and has accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine.
When asked by reporters last week whether the killings in Bucha, where hundreds of bodies of civilians have been found after the withdrawal of Russian troops, would qualify as genocide, Biden replied: “No, I think it is a war crime.”
Last month, the US government made a formal determination that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine, a claim that may lead to criminal prosecutions in US courts and other international proceedings.
Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Since then, the war has left thousands dead, more than 4 million refugees and some 7 million internally displaced people, according to the United Nations. EFE