Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to “wipe away the notion of even being a Ukrainian” according to President Joe Biden, who claimed on Tuesday that Russia’s conflict in Ukraine “amounts to genocide.”
His remarks to reporters in Iowa, soon before boarding Air Force One for his return to Washington, were described as “genocide.”
‘It’s becoming more obvious that Putin is just attempting to eradicate the concept of being a Ukrainian in any way.”
Biden had hinted that Putin was committing genocide against Ukraine at a previous appearance in Menlo, Iowa, where he was speaking about the spike in energy costs caused by the conflict, but he had provided no specifics. As a result of Biden’s public evaluation, neither he nor his administration announced any further sanctions against Russia or new support for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, praised Biden’s remarks, noting that he had asked Western politicians to adopt the word “Russian invasion” to characterise Russia’s invasion of his nation.
On Twitter, he wrote: “Genuine words from a true leader @POTUS.” It’s critical to identify and call out evil when confronting it. ”
It would be left to lawyers to determine if Russia’s actions matched the international definition for genocide, as Ukrainian authorities have argued, but Biden said that “it certainly seems” that they did.
As recently as last week, Vice President Joe Biden said that he did not think Russia’s actions amounted to genocide, rather that they were “war crimes.”
The vice president attracted criticism for a nine-word comment made while travelling around Europe last month, which seemed to endorse regime change in Moscow and would have signalled a significant move toward direct conflict with another nuclear-armed nation. According to Biden, “for God’s sake, this guy must not be allowed to continue in power.”
His words were clarified some days later when he explained his reasoning: “I was expressing my moral fury over this individual.” No, I wasn’t advocating for a change in government policy.”
The United States has in the past shied away from formally declaring bloody campaigns like Russia’s in Ukraine to be genocide, fearing that doing so would trigger an obligation under an international treaty against genocide that requires signing countries to intervene once genocide is formally identified.
It was thought that this responsibility would preclude President Bill Clinton from labelling the 1994 massacre of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis by Rwandan Hutus to be genocide, for example.