Joe Biden accused Russia of “genocide” in Ukraine. Others remain cautious about using this word, while some refuse it altogether, preferring to speak of “war crimes”.
It is a question that is not unanimously agreed upon. This Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelensky denounced “very hurtful” remarks after Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the situation in Ukraine, especially regarding the massacre of Boutcha or the attacks in Marioupol.
The Ukrainian president accuses Russia of committing genocide in his country because, according to him, it intends to eliminate “the whole nation” Ukrainian. He used this word for the first time at the beginning of April, the day after the discovery of numerous bodies of civilians in the streets of Boutcha, after the departure of Russian troops. Since then, Volodymyr Zelensky has regularly used this term.
– These leaders who use the word “genocide”
The first country to rally to this rhetoric is Poland, which has shown great solidarity with its neighbor since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, declared that “the bloody massacres committed by Russian soldiers deserve to be called by their name. It is genocide, and it must be judged.
But the stance that made the most noise came from the other side of the Atlantic. On Tuesday, Joe Biden surprised everyone by talking about “genocide”, whereas a week earlier he was skirting around the issue to talk about a war crime instead.
“Your purchasing power, your ability to fill up your tank – none of that should depend on a dictator declaring war and committing genocide halfway around the world,” he said during a trip dedicated to fighting inflation.
“I spoke of genocide because it is increasingly clear that Putin is trying to erase the very idea of being Ukrainian,” he said later to CNN.
A statement that made many react, including on the side of Moscow who considered “unacceptable” such comments. Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, described Joe Biden as “a real leader” who “calls things by their name”.
– Those who remain cautious
Other Western leaders are more cautious, but they are all on the same page. “International bodies will officially determine [what is happening in Ukraine], but it is certain that we can talk more and more about genocide,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.