US President Joe Biden on Monday repeated his view that Russian forces have committed war crimes, after last month he for the first time called Putin a “war criminal” – but in the latest comments the US president focused on allegations coming out of the town of Bucha, which lies on the outskirts of Kiev.
Biden said of Putin on Monday, “This guy is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone has seen it.” He told reporters, “I think it is a war crime.” He called for a war crimes trial while saying “we have to gather all the details” to be able to have one, AFP reports.
Biden further affirmed, “I am seeking more sanctions” – but didn’t get into specifics, after EU officials have said they are in discussions for rolling out new penalties on Moscow. Some top German officials are even calling for banning Russian natural gas.
Biden’s comments were the first he’s issued specifically on Bucha, where Ukraine officials are alleging that Russian troops “massacred” over 400 civilians, which they say in many instances had hands tied behind their backs and were shot at close range execution-style.
“He should be held accountable,” Biden said further of Putin, suggesting the US will seek a formal charge for Putin at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Hill reports that the administration is still collecting evidence:
Biden reiterated his characterization of Putin as a “war criminal” on Monday but said more evidence needed to be collected so a war crimes case can be tried. The International Criminal Court has launched an investigated into whether Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine.
The State Department already formally accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine by deliberately targeting civilians, including in strikes on a maternity hospital and theater that was being used as a shelter in Mariupol.
Videos purporting to show the aftermath of atrocities began coming out in the last days after Ukrainian forces re-entered the town for the first time. However, some independent geopolitical commentators are questioning what they say is a hasty narrative with little that’s confirmed.
Even The New York Times initially admitted it cannot “independently verify” the allegations surrounding what happened at Bucha…
The Pentagon too has said it can’t verify the Ukrainian narrative of events, but one official said the following:
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. defense official said the Pentagon could not independently confirm reports of killings in Bucha but said officials have “no reason whatsoever to refute the Ukrainian claims about these atrocities.”
That’s right, Ukraine has been a side you can trust.