Biden ‘absolutely right’ to accuse Russia of genocide in Ukraine, says Trudeau

The way Russia is attacking Ukrainian identity and culture is crime against humanity, Canadian PM says

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 14 April 2022 14:48
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Related: Putin claims Russia ‘had no other choice’ in Ukraine

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed US President Joe Biden’s words accusing Russia of committing a “genocide” in Ukraine.

“I think as President Biden highlighted there are official processes around determinations of genocide, but I think it’s absolutely right that more and more people be talking and using the word genocide in terms of what Russia is doing, what Vladimir Putin has done,” Mr Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday.

“The way that they’re attacking Ukrainian identity and culture, these are all things that are war crimes that Putin is responsible for. These are all things that are crimes against humanity,” he added.

Mr Trudeau’s statement came a day after the US president ratcheted up his rhetoric against Russia and accused Moscow of committing genocide in Ukraine for the first time.

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of this should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half a world away,” he said while speaking in Iowa.

“Yes, I called it genocide,” he added. “It’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian.”

His words were much stronger than previous characterisations of the situation in Ukraine by US officials, who up until now have accused Mr Putin and Russia’s military of committing “war crimes” but have stopped short of acknowledging the claim of genocide that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelesnky has levied.

Genocide is seen as the ultimate war crime and has a legal definition. However, it has rarely been proven in court since it was added to humanitarian law after the Second World War.

“We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me,” Mr Biden had said.

As the war in Ukraine continues in its eighth week, Russian forces have withdrawn from areas around Kyiv in recent days after their failure to capture the capital.

Most military experts and observers have suggested that Moscow is now focused on seizing areas in Ukraine’s south and southeast, including key civilian centers like Mariupol and Kherson, as it seeks dominance over the Black Sea.

Russia has described its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation” to denazify and demilitarise the country.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin accused the US of hypocrisy and said that it disagreed with Mr Biden’s usage of the term genocide.

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