US President Joe Biden reiterated his assessment that Russia has committed genocide in Ukraine, telling reporters gathered on the tarmac in Des Moines, “I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian.”
“And the evidence is mounting, it’s different than it was last week, the more evidence that’s coming out,” he continued, “Literally the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine, and we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation — and we’ll let the lawyers decide internationally it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”
Earlier Tuesday, in remarks from Menlo, Iowa, the President first cited the possibility Russia had committed genocide, in remarks on rising gas prices.
“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away,” he said.
Biden has previously stopped short of calling what is underway in Ukraine a genocide. His aides have said it doesn’t yet rise to the level.
“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,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this month.