(Washington) US President Joe Biden on Wednesday for the first time called Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched the invasion of Ukraine, a “war criminal”.
“He’s a war criminal,” he said, without further details, to a reporter who questioned him as he left an event dedicated to the fight against domestic violence at the White House.
“The president was speaking from his heart and from what you saw on TV, which is the barbaric actions of a brutal dictator,” his spokeswoman Jen Psaki said shortly afterwards.
She clarified that a “legal procedure (was) still in progress at the State Department” concerning a legal qualification of “war crimes” committed by Russia in Ukraine.
No American official had so far publicly used the terms “war criminal” or “war crimes”, unlike other States or international organizations.
The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, for example, described last week as a “heinous war crime” the Russian bombardment of a establishment housing a maternity hospital and a pediatric hospital in Mariupol, which left three people dead, including a little girl, and 17 wounded.
“What we have already seen from the regime of Vladimir Putin concerning the use of munitions dropped on innocent civilians, this already constitutes in my opinion a war crime”, declared for his part the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. on March 2.
Separately, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is investigating allegations of war crimes in Ukraine, visited the country and spoke by videoconference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on Wednesday the institution.