On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the atrocities being discovered in Ukraine qualify as genocide, a designation he’d previously avoided but that he now believes is warranted as scenes of devastation emerge from towns once overrun by Russian troops.
“I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian. The evidence is mounting,” Biden told reporters in Iowa after using the term earlier in a speech.
“It’s different than it was last week, the more evidence that’s coming out,” he added.
“Literally, the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine — and we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation.”
“We’ll let the lawyers decide, internationally, whether or not it qualifies,” he concluded, “but it sure seems that way to me.”
It was a spectacular rhetorical escalation in the US view of what is transpiring on the ground in Ukraine, which Biden has recently considered war crimes.
“True words of a true leader @POTUS,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil. We are grateful for US assistance provided so far and we urgently need more heavy weapons to prevent further Russian atrocities.”