Biden: Putin should face trial for war crimes for Bucha’s murder

Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden on Monday called for Vladimir Putin to be prosecuted for war crimes and said he would seek more sanctions against Russia after what he called “heinous” atrocities around Kyiv. One of the president’s top advisers said the Russians had inflicted heavy casualties before they withdrew from around the Ukrainian capital to regroup for dangerous forays elsewhere.

“We have to collect all the details” for the war crimes trial, Biden said, referring to one of the towns around Kiev where Ukrainian officials say civilian bodies have been found. “This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone has seen it.”

Subsequently, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, reminded reporters that the United States had released intelligence in the run-up to the February 24 invasion, warning that Russia would seek to imprison or kill dissidents and others it deemed threats for its attempt to occupy Ukraine. . He said the horrific scenes that erupted around the capital show that anxiety is now fading away.

“We don’t believe this was just a random accident, or a rogue act by a particular individual,” Sullivan said of the photos of bound civilians being killed. “We think that was part of the plan.”

Biden presented allegations of war crimes to reporters after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Bucha, Ukrainian officials said the bodies of civilians were found in horrific scenes of brutality. Zelensky called Russia’s actions “genocide” and called on the West to impose tougher sanctions on Russia.

But Biden and US officials stopped short of calling these actions genocide.

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“We have seen atrocities, we have witnessed war crimes, and we have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of the lives of the Ukrainian people that rises to the level of genocide,” Sullivan said.

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The bodies of 410 civilians were taken from towns in the Kyiv region that were recently recovered from Russian forces, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Irina Venediktova. Associated Press reporters saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various locations around the city of Bucha, northwest of the capital.

Sullivan warned that the world “must prepare” for additional potential war crimes to be revealed.

“Now the Russians have realized that the West will not be broken” in his support of the Ukrainian government, Sullivan said. But he warned that Russia was stepping up its offensive in other parts of the country after withdrawing many troops from around Kyiv.

White House officials said talks about tightening new sanctions on Russia intensified after reports of the alleged atrocities emerged. Biden said on Monday he would continue adding sanctions but did not detail what sectors the United States might target next. Sullivan said additional sanctions will be issued this week.

After unveiling a series of sanctions in the early weeks of the war, administration officials in recent days have focused more on filling loopholes that Russia might try to use to avoid sanctions.

Biden noted that he faced opposition last month when he called Putin a war criminal About the attack that began in Ukraine after the bombing of hospitals and maternity wards. In his remarks on Monday, Biden indicated that the assessment had clearly been verified.

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Investigations into Putin’s actions had begun before the latest allegations of atrocities.

The United States and more than 40 other countries are working together to investigate potential violations and abuses, following a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to set up a commission of inquiry. Another investigation was conducted by the International Criminal Court, an independent body based in the Netherlands. The US Senate unanimously approved the resolution Last month, it sought investigations into Putin and elements of his government for war crimes related to the invasion of Ukraine.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States is supporting a multinational team of war crimes experts deployed to the region in support of the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s War Crimes Unit.

Biden’s chief envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, announced Monday that the United States plans to seek to suspend Russia’s membership in the United Nations’ highest human rights body following the latest revelations. This will require a resolution from the United Nations General Assembly.

Russia and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, China, France and the United States — hold seats on the 47-nation, Geneva-based rights council. The United States returned to the Council this year.

“My message to those 140 nations who stood together with little courage: the images of Bucha and the devastation across Ukraine now require us to match our words with deeds,” Thomas Greenfield said. “We cannot allow a member state to subvert every principle we hold dear to continue to be a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

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Associated Press congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro and AP diplomatic writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.

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