Biden calls for additional sanctions, war crimes trial for Putin for atrocities in Ukraine
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Monday called for a war crimes trial against Russian President Vladimir Putin and more sanctions against Russia following reports of atrocities in Ukraine.
"You may remember I got criticized for calling Putin a war criminal. Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha… He is a war criminal,” Biden said.
Biden noted that there needs to be more evidence gathered of war crimes and said that weapons need to continue to be provided to Ukraine.
"This guy is brutal and what's happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone's seen it," Biden said.
Biden also said he is “going to continue to add more sanctions."
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the U.S. will announce the sanctions later this week to "raise the pressure and raise the cost on Putin and Russia.” He did not elaborate but said new sanctions on Russia's energy sectors are on the table.
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Echoing the president, Sullivan said that atrocities in Bucha “show further evidence of war crimes" and that the Biden administration will work with allies to ensure "full accountability for these crimes."
Sullivan singled out the International Criminal Court as one venue where war crimes have been tried but said the U.S. would work with allies to decide the mechanism.
“There’s work to be done to work out the specifics,” he said.
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White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said there is precedent for how a trial could take place during a war but the Biden administration does not want to "prejudge" how the process should work.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the U.S. will seek Russia's suspension from the U.N. Human Rights Council. The move came at the direct of Biden, according to Psaki, who said the president believes Russia's membership on the council is "ludicrous."
Ukrainian officials and journalists found many dead civilians in Bucha, a city near Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, after Russian troops retreated from the area.
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Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that 280 people were buried in mass graves. An Associated Press reporter saw the bodies of at least 21 people in various spots around the city. Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian forces.
"We do not believe that this is just a random accident or the rogue act of a particular individual,” Sullivan said. “We believe that this was part of the plan.”
Contributing: Celina Tebor and Ryan W. Miller