Noon in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a campaign event in Strasbourg, France, April 12.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a campaign event in Strasbourg, France, on April 12. (Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron declined to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide” in a television interview with France 2 broadcaster.

Asked if he, like US President Joe Biden, would use the term “genocide” for the Russian military killing of Ukrainians, Macron said: “I would be careful with such terms today.” Now for these two peoples [Russians and Ukrainians] are brothers.”

“I want to keep trying as hard as I can to end this war and rebuild peace. I’m not sure that the rise of rhetoric serves that cause,” he added.

“What we can say for sure is that this situation is unacceptable and these are war crimes. We are living through unprecedented war crimes on our land – our European soil”.

The French president, currently running for re-election, also noted France’s cooperation with Ukraine to investigate allegations of war crimes.

“Russia has unilaterally started an extremely brutal war, the Russian military has committed war crimes and now we must find those responsible,” Macron said.

Some context: Biden on Tuesday said atrocities exposed in Ukraine qualify as genocidesaid that “it is becoming more and more clear that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is just trying to erase even the idea of ​​being Ukrainian.”

It was a dramatic rhetorical escalation in the United States’ view of what was happening on the ground in Ukraine, which Biden previously considered a war crime.

The US designation does not carry any legal ramifications but carries considerable weight as Biden seeks to rally the nations behind the strategy of isolating and punishing Moscow.

Other world leaders, such as Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom and Andrzej Duda of Poland, have also used the word “genocide” to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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