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President Biden called the actions of Russian forces in Ukraine “genocide” for the first time on Tuesday, a classification he had previously avoided using.
“I called it genocide because it’s become increasingly clear that Putin is just trying to eliminate even the idea of being Ukrainian. The evidence is mounting,” Biden told reporters after appearing refer to the term earlier on Tuesday.
UKRAINE IS NOT GETTING WHAT IT NEEDS TO ‘END THE WAR EARLIER’, RUNNING OUT OF ‘TIME’, SAYS ZELENSKYY
In comments on inflation earlier Tuesday, Biden said the prices Americans pay shouldn’t depend on a dictator “committing genocide” against another country, an apparent shot at Russian President Vladimir Putin. and his decision to invade Ukraine.
“We’ll let the lawyers decide, internationally, whether that qualifies or not,” Biden clarified later in his response to Iowa reporters, “but that seems like a sure thing to me.”
Biden’s comments drew praise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, calling the comments “true words from a real leader.”
“Calling things by their proper name is essential to resisting evil,” Zelenskyy said on Twitter. “We are grateful for the American assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”
Biden’s remarks come after he previously balked at using global genocide, instead calling Russian actions in Ukraine “war crimes.”
“He’s a war criminal,” Biden said of Putin earlier this month.
“We are Ukrainian citizens and we do not want to be subject to the politics of [Russia]”, he continued. “This is the reason why we are destroyed and exterminated. And this is happening in 21st century Europe. So it’s the torture of the whole nation.”
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Asked if he agreed with Zelenskyy’s characterization of “genocide,” Biden replied, “No, I think it’s a war crime.”
But Biden apparently changed his tune on Tuesday, hinting that additional evidence helped change his characterization.
“More evidence is literally coming out of the horrible things the Russians did to Ukraine,” Biden said. “And we would only learn more and more about the devastation.”
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