WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he would seek more sanctions after reported atrocities in Ukraine.
“You saw what happened in Bucha,” Biden said. He added that Putin “is a war criminal”.
Biden’s comments to reporters came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Bucha, one of the towns surrounding Kyiv where Ukrainian officials said civilian bodies had been found. Zelenskyy called the Russian actions “genocide” and called on the West to apply tougher sanctions against Russia.
Biden, however, did not call the actions genocide.
The bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from towns in the Kyiv region that were recently retaken from Russian forces, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said. Associated Press reporters saw the bodies of at least 21 people at various locations around Bucha, northwest of the capital.
“We must continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to continue the fight. And we need to get all the details together so this can be a real — have a war crimes trial,” Biden said.
Biden blasted Putin, calling him “brutal.”
“What’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone sees it,” Biden added.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, tweeted on Monday that the European Union will send investigators to Ukraine to help the local prosecutor general “document war crimes”.
Biden noted he was pushed back last month when he portrayed Putin as a war criminal for the onslaught unfolding in Ukraine after hospitals and maternity wards were bombed. In his remarks on Monday, Biden made it clear that the label still applied.
“This guy is brutal and what’s happening to Bucha is outrageous, and everyone saw it,” Biden said.
Investigations into Putin’s actions had begun before new allegations of atrocities outside kyiv.
The United States and more than 40 other countries are working together to investigate possible violations and abuses, after the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a commission of inquiry . There is another investigation by the International Criminal Court, an independent body based in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Biden’s chief envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced on Monday that the United States plans to seek the suspension of Russia from its seat on the highest human rights body. UN man following more indications that Russian forces may have committed war crimes in Ukraine. This would require a decision by the UN General Assembly.
Russia and the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France and the United States – all currently have seats on the Geneva-based Council of Rights of 47 member states. . The United States joined the council this year.