President Biden on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing genocide in Ukraine, an escalation of his administration’s rhetoric on Russia.
Joe Biden made the remark when discussing recent efforts to address higher gas prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Joe Biden’s Statements In A Brief
“I’m doing everything within my power by executive orders to bring down the price and address the Putin price hike,” he told an audience in Menlo, Iowa.
“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.
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. “The evidence is mounting.”
“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,” he continued.
Zelensky commended Joe Biden for the comments, describing them as “true words of a true leader.”
“Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil,” the Ukrainian president tweeted. “We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”
Biden’s comments come days after Russian missiles struck a train station in Ukraine, killing more than 50 people, and a week after horrific images of civilian bodies in the streets emerged from the town of Bucha near Kyiv.
Asked last Monday if the killings in Bucha constituted genocide, Joe Biden replied: “No, I think it is a war crime.”