State Department suggests Biden’s ‘genocide’ comment is his opinion, not a ‘legal’ decision

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The State Department said Wednesday that President Biden’s comments regarding “genocide” in Ukraine at the hands of Russian forces were based “on the horrific atrocities we have all seen” happening across Ukraine.

Asked if his comments reflected the larger view of the US government, State Department spokesman Ned Price insisted there had been no legal determination as to whether a genocide had been committed by Russia in Ukraine.

Ned Price, spokesman for the US State Department
(KEVIN LAMARQUE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“The president did not shy away from drawing attention to the horrific acts, the atrocities that Russian forces committed almost from the very first hours of the Russian invasion,” Price said, reminding reporters of the assessment of the department that “war crimes” were committed. by Russia.

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Noting the actions of Russian forces in Ukraine, Price said it will be “the task of international lawyers to determine whether what we see meets that legal threshold of genocide.”

“The president was basing his comments on the horrific atrocities we all saw in Mariupol, Bucha, Kharkiv, you could go on,” Price added.

President Joe Biden speaks in Menlo, Iowa on April 12, 2022.

President Joe Biden speaks in Menlo, Iowa on April 12, 2022.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Price also told reporters that the State Department is “engaged right now in a process to work with partners around the world – but first and foremost, our partners in Ukraine – to help them collect, preserve, document, and share evidence of atrocities, potential war crimes, and yes, if that legal threshold is met, genocide.”

Speaking on inflation on Tuesday, Biden said the prices Americans pay shouldn’t depend on a dictator “committing genocide” against another country.

“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 later said he used the term because “the evidence is mounting.”

“I called it genocide because it became increasingly clear that Putin is just trying to erase even the idea of ​​being Ukrainian,” he said. “The evidence is piling up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Biden drew praise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called the comments “true words from a real leader.”

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“Calling things by their proper name is essential to opposing evil”, Zelenskyy mentioned on Twitter. “We are grateful for the American assistance provided so far, and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this article.

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