President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” when asked by reporters Wednesday after giving remarks at the White House.
What he said: “I think he is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters.
The response: The Kremlin responded to Biden’s statement, saying it was “unacceptable” and “unforgivable rhetoric.”
- Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, told the state-run news outlet TASS that Biden’s comments were “unacceptable and unforgivable on the part of the head of a state, whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
🚨This marks the first time the administration has referred to the Russian President as a war criminal - until now, officials have shied away from that language.— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) March 16, 2022
POTUS tells me “I think he is a war criminal”
(Thanks to @kwelkernbc for the camera work 🎥) pic.twitter.com/u4fLdkxMbt
Flashback: Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris called for an investigation of Russia for committing war crimes in its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, stopping short of accusing Russia of committing war crimes.
- “Absolutely there should be an investigation, and we should all be watching,” said Harris, per The Associated Press.
The bigger picture: Biden’s comments came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress, calling on Biden “to be the leader of the world,” which “means to be the leader of peace.”
- Biden reacted to Zelenskyy’s speech by committing $800 million in military support for Ukraine, per NBC News.
- “We are united in our abhorrence of Putin’s depraved onslaught. And we’re going to continue to have their backs as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival,” Biden said.