Biden Calls for ‘War Crimes Trial’ Against Putin
April 5, 2022 | Tags: foreign policy, REASON, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and the U.S. started collecting evidence of possible Russian war crimes in the first week of March. This past weekend, when Ukrainian soldiers recaptured the town of Bucha, just 36 miles from Kyiv, they found themselves in the midst of what Ukrainian authorities called a "scene from a horror movie."
Officials in Moscow repeatedly denied that Russian troops slaughtered innocent Ukrainians. Some even suggested that the images and videos circulating around the world are hoaxes or actors pretending to be dead in a "coordinated media campaign."
Time-lapse satellite imagery and reporting from the New York Times indicate that bodies had been laying in the streets of Bucha for a few weeks, rebuking the Kremlin's claim that the bodies were added to the streets after Russian soldiers "withdrew completely from Bucha around March 30." Dark objects similar in size to human bodies appeared on the street between March 9 and March 11. Footage from April 1 shows that these presumed bodies remained untouched until Ukrainian soldiers recaptured the contested area.
"The Ukrainian city of Bucha was in the hands of [Russian] animals for several weeks. Local civilians were being executed arbitrarily, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city," Ukraine's defense ministry told reporters on Sunday. Also on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian forces are committing genocide by "destroying and exterminating" the Ukrainian people. These atrocities committed by Russian soldiers have enraged the international community—with many countries now calling for tougher sanctions.
"I will do everything in my power to starve Putin's war machine. We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as bolstering our humanitarian support package to help those in need on the ground," said England's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed that "Putin and his supporters will feel the consequences." President Joe Biden said Monday that "what's happening in Bucha is outrageous." No leader has gone so far as Zelenskyy to define Russia's actions as genocide.
In a more symbolic move, the U.S. and the U.K. have called to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council, with Biden calling for Putin to be put on trial for war crimes committed during the Bucha massacre.