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Joe Biden accuses Putin of genocide

US President Joe Biden has accused Russian forces of committing acts of genocide in Ukraine.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to “wipe out the idea” of a Ukrainian identity.

The US has historically been reluctant to use the word genocide due to a duty to intervene if the term is used.

French President Emmanuel Macron later said he was reluctant to use the word. The Kremlin called Mr Biden’s comments “unacceptable”.

But Mr Biden insisted on Tuesday night that evidence of genocidal acts by Russian troops was mounting.

“More evidence is coming out of the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine,” the president said. “And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation. We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”

He first made the comments as part of a throwaway remark during a speech in Iowa about increasing inflation, telling supporters in Iowa their ability to budget should not “hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away”.

Speaking to the public broadcaster France 2, the President Macron said he would be “careful with such terms today because these two peoples are brothers.”

“I want to continue to try, as much as I can, to stop this war and rebuild peace. I am not sure that an escalation of rhetoric serves that cause,” he added.

The Kremlin said Mr Biden was attempting to “distort the situation” in Ukraine.

“This is hardly acceptable from a president of the United States, a country that has committed well-known crimes in recent times,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has not held back from accusing Russia of genocide and crimes against humanity following the discovery of mass graves in the city of Bucha, said Mr Biden’s comments were “true words of a true leader”.

Also read; Ukraine appeals to Russia over growing humanitarian concerns in Mariupol

Also read; Ukraine war: Nigerian students in detention – NiDCOM

Editing by Omotola Oguneye