President Biden on Monday called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin following reports of the mass killing of Ukraine civilians by Russian troops in a suburb of Kyiv.
“He’s a war criminal,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Putin, when asked about the reports of Ukraine civilians being slaughtered by Russian troops in Bucha, which sits northwest of Kyiv, the Ukraine capital.
“This guy is brutal and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it,” Mr. Biden told reporters after video surfaced showing Bucha‘s streets littered with dead bodies.
“I think it’s a war crime,” the president said. “He should be held accountable.”
“You may remember, I got criticized last month for calling Putin a war criminal,” Mr. Biden said. “Well, the truth of the matter is you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants him — he is a war criminal.”
Mr. Biden also said he could impose new sanctions on Russia for its conduct during the war, which started about six weeks ago.
Bucha’s mayor said about 300 residents of his town had been killed when Russian-controlled fighters from Chechnya attacked the city.
Russia has denied claims it has killed civilians in Bucha. The country’s defense minister called the claims a “provocation.”
Mr. Biden cautioned that evidence still needed to be gathered to support prosecutors if Mr. Putin ever faces a war crimes trial.
“We have to gather the information. We have to continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to continue the fight,” he said. “We have to get all the details so this can be a war-crime trial.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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