US

Biden says Putin and Russia are committing ‘genocide’ in Ukraine

President Joe Biden has stepped up his rhetoric against Vladimir Putin and accused Russia of committing “genocide” in Ukraine for the first time.

Mr Biden was speaking in Iowa about the lingering effects of inflation, which the White House pinned as an effect of Mr Putin’s invasion, and said American consumers should not pay the stock price of a “dictator” declaring war on a sovereign. country and its people.

“Your family budget, your ability to refuel, none of that should depend on a dictator declaring war and committing genocide on the other side of the world,” the president said Tuesday.

His words were much stronger than previous descriptions of the situation in Ukraine by US officials, who so far have accused Mr Putin and the Russian military of committing “war crimes”, but have so far have now refrained from acknowledging the genocide allegation that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky has levied.

Mr. Zelensky himself responded on Twitter shortly after Mr. Biden’s speech, writing, “True words from a true leader @POTUS. Calling things by their proper name is essential to standing up to evil. We are grateful for the American assistance provided so far and urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.

The United States and other Western countries have maintained a sanctions campaign that the Biden administration in particular has escalated as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on. Members of Mr Putin’s inner circle as well as his family and a host of Russian industries are now under a US trade ban, but so far the West has so far backtracked on measures more crippling aimed at Russia’s energy sector which continues to supply parts of Europe.

Mr Biden’s genocide charge is likely aimed at further pressuring US allies and trading partners in Europe and Asia to sever ties with Moscow and come as gruesome images of killings of civilians in the Russian-occupied areas were broadcast to the world after the withdrawal of these forces from the regions around the Ukrainian capital.

In Bucha in particular, Russian forces are now blamed for carrying out the killing of hundreds of civilians, while the death toll is expected to rise in the coming days as more of the carnage is uncovered by advancing troops. Ukrainians. The Russian government, meanwhile, continues to strenuously deny accusations of war crimes or the deliberate targeting of civilians, and insists that videos and images appearing on the internet and on television screens proving otherwise are in full force. fact rigged.

The Russian government also continues to argue that unprecedented US-led sanctions will not cause lasting damage to the country’s economy, while Mr Putin himself has vowed to retaliate by reducing the share of the Russia in contributions to the global food supply chain and taking other measures intended to raise consumer prices in the west.

“If our Western partners worsen the situation in financial terms, in terms of insurance and shipping, the situation will get worse, including for them,” Putin said earlier on Tuesday. “High food prices and these problems will lead to hunger in many parts of the world, which will lead to more migration flows, including to Europe.”

The dispute between Russia and the West over the latter’s invasion of Ukraine has so far remained limited to an economic war, but Mr Biden warned that that would change if the Russian leader threatened a ” inch” of NATO-held territory. Ukraine has applied for NATO membership, but is not a member of the alliance.

Russian forces have withdrawn from areas around kyiv in recent days as it becomes clear their army has failed in its aim to capture the capital; most pundits and military observers have postulated that Moscow is now focused on seizing areas in southern and southeastern Ukraine, including key civilian centers like Mariupol and Kherson, as it seeks to dominate the black Sea.

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