Biden urges Putin to try war crimes after Bucha murder

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on air transport development and aircraft construction, via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia March 31, 2022. Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev / Krem

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of war crimes and called for a trial, adding to a global outcry over the killings. harmed civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha as graphic images of their deaths surfaced.

“You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden told reporters after landing in Washington from Delaware, where he spent the weekend. “This warrants him – he’s a war criminal.”

The discovery of a mass grave and bound bodies shot at close range in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, a town that Ukrainian forces recovered from the Russian military, seems likely to provoke the United States and Europe imposes additional sanctions on Moscow.

“We have to gather information. We have to continue to give Ukraine the weapons they need to keep fighting. And we have to know all the details so that this can be true, yes. a war crimes trial,” Biden said.

The Kremlin denies any involvement in the killing of civilians, including in Bucha, where it says the graves and corpses were staged by Ukraine to tarnish Russia.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters that the United States will seek information from four sources to build a profile for war crimes: the United States and its allies, including intelligence agencies. newspaper; Observe Ukraine on the ground; international organizations including the United Nations; and interviews from independent global media.

He said the US would build a case at the International Criminal Court or another location. The United States is not a party to the ICC.

Russia’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council means any war crimes accountability could be prevented by Moscow in that body, Mr.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the killings “genocide” in a speech from Bucha on Monday as journalists entered the city and documented its devastation.

US defense officials said the Pentagon could not independently confirm the atrocities.

Sullivan said the US has yet to see evidence that the killings reached genocide levels.

This is not the first time Biden has called Putin a war criminal since he invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow called a “special operation”. The Kremlin said that designation harmed US-Russian relations.

Citing what he called the “horrifying” images, Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement: “The international community must also take steps to specifically to hold Putin and his allies accountable for their war crimes.”

“Putin must be held accountable for this tragic and barbaric attack on innocent civilians,” said Democratic committee chairman Bob Menendez.

Biden’s UN envoy announced that Washington will also ask Russia to suspend its activities at the UN Human Rights Council.

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