Biden calls Putin a ‘war criminal’ in verbal escalation with Russia

The rhetoric clash between the United States and Russia escalated on Wednesday when President Biden said he believes Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is a “war criminal” and a top Russian official. speak commented as “unacceptable and unforgivable.”

Mr. Biden was answering a reporter’s question as he was about to leave a White House event. Then the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that Mr. Biden “speaks from his heart and speaks from what he sees on television.”

In the weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, there have been attacks on escape route for refugeesdensely populated residential areaschools, hospital and, on Wednesday, a theater it was used as a bomb shelter.

On Wednesday, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, held a virtual meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky while in Ukraine. At the end of last month, Mr. Khan speak he is applying for permission to open an investigation into the war, and his office has found “reasonable grounds” to believe war crimes have been committed. He said they “identified potential cases that could be accepted.”

The Kremlin responded to Biden’s comments on Wednesday with a long-standing criticism that it is Western countries, not Russia, who are threatening world peace.

Dmitri Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told State news agency Tass said Biden’s remarks were “unacceptable and inexcusable for the head of a state whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”

Last month, Mr. Putin has talked to reporters in their own country about the “fundamental threats that irresponsible Western politicians posed to Russia year after year and year after year”.

Mr. Biden’s unsigned remarks on Wednesday echoed the message that US officials have delivered recently.

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Warsaw on March 10, a day later a clear Russian strike demolishing a maternity ward in Mariupol. A reporter asked Ms. Harris if the United States would support the investigation into alleged Russian war crimes.

“Certainly,” Miss Harris speakalthough she did not directly accuse Russia of war crimes.

Finally that day, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told BBC NewsHour that Russia’s attacks on civilians “constitutes war crimes; there are attacks on civilians that cannot be justified in any way – by any means. “

Mr. Biden has long criticized Mr. Putin, including in a TV interview with ABC News was broadcast last year. In the interview, when Mr. Biden was asked if he thought Mr Putin was a “murderer”, he replied: “Mmm hmm, I do.”

The Kremlin recalled its ambassador to Washington after those remarks were broadcast, and Mr quote a Russian schoolyard rhyme in responsesaid, “When I was a kid, when we were arguing in the yard, we said the following: ‘If you call someone’s name, it’s really your name.”

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