The comments come after Biden’s announcement earlier on Wednesday that the US would send an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. His pledge of more aid, bringing the total to $1 billion allocated to the country this week, comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an emotional speech to Parliament. Zelenskyy has begged the US and its NATO allies to do more to help his country, whether by enforcing a no-fly zone over Ukraine or sending jets to aid in the fight against Russia.
In his speech on Wednesday, Biden addressed the nature of the “uphill battle” the Ukrainians have faced in the three weeks since Russia launched the offensive. The death toll in Ukraine continues to rise as Russian bombing expands to the west of the country. More than 700 civilians have been killed in the past few weeks, according to the United Nations, and dozens of children have been confirmed dead as of March 15, although these numbers are difficult to track and are likely to be significantly higher.
“The American people will steadfastly support the Ukrainian people in the face of Putin’s unscrupulous, unscrupulous attacks on civilians,” Biden said. “We are united in the horror of these depraved attacks, and we will continue to back them as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival.”
White House aides insist that Biden did not plan ahead to declare that Putin was a war criminal. The president took the advice of aides and asked no questions at the event Wednesday morning when he signed the authorization to send additional resources to Ukraine.
But towards the end of his afternoon event in which he re-authorised the Violence Against Women Act, Biden worked with the crowd in the East Room for nearly half an hour before he finished next to a group reporters are gathered. He was responding to a question from a reporter asking if Putin was a war criminal. Biden said no and kept walking.
He returned a moment later and said he realized he might have misheard the question. When it was repeated, the president responded affirmatively, becoming the first member of his administration to label Putin with that label.
Terrifying images have been seen around the world this month. Just this week, it was confirmed that a pregnant woman and her baby died after a maternity hospital was bombed in the southeastern port city of Mariupol last week. Many journalists have now been reported dead. Millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, while millions more are facing a humanitarian crisis inside Ukraine’s borders.
Russia has been at the center of numerous investigations opened in recent weeks, including one by the United Nations, which announced it would open a commission to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was the first Biden administration official to call the Russian attacks a war crime last week, as world leaders stepped up calls to hold Putin accountable. and the United States consider its role in international investigations, especially when it comes to the International Criminal Court.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced the court investigation on March 2, after dozens of member states called for him to act. The United States is not a member of the ICC and has long had a complicated relationship with the courts, although the Biden administration is reviewing its policy on the ICC, Foreign Policy Reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Biden’s outspokenness, and what changed his assessment of Putin’s attacks. Psaki acknowledged that there is a legal process underway at the State Department, which is documenting and aggregating information about attacks on Ukrainian civilians to reach a conclusion.
“He is speaking from his heart and speaking from what he has seen on television, the barbaric acts of a brutal dictator through his invasion of a faraway country. strange,” said Psaki.
Vice President Kamala Harris last week, while in Poland, accused Russia of carrying out “atrocities”, although stopped short of leveling the charge as Biden did on Wednesday. She also said the US would participate in UN investigations to determine whether Russia committed war crimes.
“Just limit it to what we’ve seen,” Harris said last week, discussing potential Russian war crimes. “Pregnant women go to health care? Injured, I don’t know, a rocket? A bomb? In a gratuitous, senseless war? ”
“Of course, there should be an investigation,” she added. “And we should all be watching. And I have no doubt that the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done to this act of aggression and atrocities. Without a doubt. ”
Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/16/biden-russian-president-vladimir-putin-war-criminal-00017896?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Biden calls Putin a ‘war criminal’