Conflicts & War

Biden: Putin is a ‘war criminal’

Washington, Mar 16 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday branded his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a “war criminal.”

It is the first time US leader has used such language to refer to Putin.

“I think he is a war criminal,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question during an event at the White House.

Shortly after Biden’s remark, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president “was speaking from his heart, and speaking from what we’ve seen on television, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator through his invasion of a foreign country.”

Psaki clarified that the State Department has not made a formal statement accusing Russia of having committed war crimes, and that the “legal process” on that issue underway.

Biden’s comment was not well received in Moscow, where Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was “inexcusable.”

“We consider such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Peskov said, according to state media outlet Sputnik.

The US said earlier this month that it is documenting Russian attacks in Ukraine and their impact on civilians to ensure that Moscow is held accountable if it is found to have committed war crimes.

The US embassy in Ukraine described the Russian attack on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia on Mar. 4 as a “war crime.”

However, the White House did not refer to the incident in those terms and the State Department asked its embassies around the world not to spread the tweet from the delegation in Ukraine that used those words.

Last week, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opened a website for people to provide information or evidence of war crimes or crimes against humanity to investigators. EFE


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