President Biden on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing genocide in Ukraine, an escalation of his administration’s rhetoric on Russia.
Biden made the remark when discussing recent efforts to address higher gas prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden administration has accused Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine but has stopped short of deeming civilian killings “genocide,” a term that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has used.
Biden later affirmed his belief that Putin’s actions constitute genocide during an exchange with reporters, but said his lawyers would make the ultimate determination.
“It’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian,” Biden said.
Asked last Monday if the killings in Bucha constituted genocide, Biden replied: “No, I think it is a war crime.”.
The administration subsequently accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in Ukraine, including a maternity hospital in Mariupol, and committing war crimes. »