‘He’s a war criminal’: Biden calls Putin ‘brutal’ amid reports of human rights abuses in Russia
The Biden administration will add more penalties against Russia amid growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine by Vladimir Poutineforces. ‘There must be accountability,’ said Secretary of State Antoine Blinken told CNN on Sunday as reports of Russian brutality near kyiv sparked global outrage. “We can’t become numb to this,” Blinken continued. “We can’t normalize this.”
President Joe Biden told reporters Monday that the United States is gathering evidence to support war crimes charges against Putin, working on new sanctions and continuing to supply weapons to Ukraine’s defense forces. “You may remember I was criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,” Biden said. noted. “The truth, you saw what happened to Bucha – that justifies it … he’s a war criminal,” Biden continued. “This guy is brutal, and what is happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone has seen it.”
Tales of Russian atrocities have piled up since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February. Last month, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, warned that “war crimes are part of Russia’s deliberate strategy”. But the human toll of the Russian attacks has become even more egregious in recent days after the Russian withdrawal from Bucha, a suburb close to the Ukrainian capital. Satellite images showed mass graves in the city. Reuters journalists on the ground in Bucha too describe gruesome scenes of bodies in the street and open graves “with hands and feet breaking through the red clay heaped on top”. The mayor of the town, Anatoly Fedoruk, Recount the Washington Post that nearly 300 civilians had been found there in mass graves.
The “Bucha massacre was deliberate,” Kuleba tweeted on Sunday, along with images of massacred civilians. “The Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as possible.”
Residents of areas occupied by Russian forces in Ukraine described summary executions of civilians, rapes by a Russian soldier and other abuses against Ukrainians in a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Sunday. In one case described to the human rights organization, Russian forces in Bucha forced five men to “kneel down on the side of the road, pull their T-shirts over their heads and shot one of the men in the back of the head”.
“The cases we have documented represent unspeakable and deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians,” Hugues Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, said in the report, which documented alleged atrocities in Chernihiv, Kharkiv and other Russian-occupied parts of the country. “Rapes, murders and other acts of violence against persons detained by Russian forces must be investigated as war crimes.”
Russia, which has a history of human rights abuses under Putin, including its aerial bombardment of Syria half a decade ago, is already under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in announcement of the investigation By March 2, his office “had already found a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court had been committed and had identified potential cases that would be admissible.” But the international community has at times struggled to respond to Russia’s aggression, attempting to prop up Ukraine and hold the Kremlin accountable without further provoking Putin, who has repeatedly issued nuclear threats.