Ferrari ridicules Biden after US leader sidelined at White House
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It is the first time that the US President has used the word “genocide” to describe the actions of his Russian counterpart in Ukraine, although he has previously labelled the Russian President a “war criminal”. Speaking to reporters in Iowa on Tuesday, Mr Biden said that the “genocide” in Ukraine was impacting ordinary Americans and that the Russian President was trying to “wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian”.
The 46th US President said: “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.
“I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian and the evidence is mounting.
“We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”
Mr Biden’s comments come days after Ukraine accused Russia of killing 50 people at a train station in the eastern town of Kramatorsk
There have also been reports of the killing of civilians in a number of towns close to Kyiv, most notoriously Bucha, which have drawn worldwide condemnation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously said that the atrocities in Bucha constituted a “genocide” – a charge that other European leaders have repeated.
However, until now the Biden administration has previously stopped short of using the word genocide due to its strict legal definition and implications it carries.
Experts have warned about using the term with Juan Mendez former UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, telling Al Jazeera that civilian deaths do not by themselves constitute a genocide.
He said: “It certainly would be a serious error to ignore the fact that many victims so far have been clearly civilians, possibly targeted because they are Ukrainians – that is a national origin, a condition that fits into the partial definition of genocide.
“But the fact that civilians die is not necessarily genocide.”
The UN’s Genocide Convention defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, this includes killings and measures to prevent births.
Writing on Twitter, President Zelensky thanked Mr Biden and labelled him as a “true leader” who “stands up” to evil.
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He said: “True words of a true leader @POTUS. 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.”
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