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Biden ups anti-Putin rhetoric, accuses him of committing ‘genocide’


In further ratcheting up of Washington’s offensive against Moscow over its against the Kiev government, Joe Biden accused ’s President Vladimir Putin of committing genocide in .

Biden made the remarks on Tuesday while pointing out recent efforts to address higher gas prices in the US caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“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 has previously accused Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine but has stopped short of accusing him of “genocide.” 

Biden’s comments come after clashes escalated between Russian troops and Ukrainian forces over the control of the besieged port city of on Tuesday.

Since the onset of the military campaign in Ukraine, Russia has been trying to connect the Crimean Peninsula with the breakaway regions of and Lugansk in the Donbass, laying siege to the strategically-located city of Mariupol, once home to more than 400,000 people.

Russian media said on Tuesday that troops aimed to take control of Mariupol, located in southeastern Ukraine and on the north coast of the Sea of Azov, while Ukrainian forces tried to hold them back.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the army had thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian forces to break the siege with “airstrikes and artillery fire” at a factory in a northern district of the city.

The Ukrainian military insisted that “the defense of Mariupol continues,” with the Land Forces of Ukraine writing on , “The connection with the units of the defense forces that heroically hold the city is stable and maintained.”

Putin announced the military offensive against Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow.

According to Western media reports, Russian missiles last week struck a train station in Ukraine, killing more than 50 people. And a week before images of civilian bodies in the streets emerged from the town of Bucha near Kiev. 

Asked if the killings in Bucha constituted genocide, Biden replied: “No, I think it is a war crime.” 

national security adviser Jake Sullivan also refused to call it genocide.

“Based on what we have seen so far, we have seen atrocities, we have seen war crimes. We have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide,” Sullivan told reporters at the time. “But, again, that’s something we will continue to monitor.”

Biden’s comments on Tuesday represent a major shift in his administration’s labeling of the atrocities in Ukraine. 



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