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Biden calls Putin a 'war criminal'

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President Biden said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal” as atrocities from Moscow’s deadly invasion of Ukraine continued to mount.

“I think he is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters at the White House following an event celebrating the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Biden initially said “no” when asked by a reporter whether he was ready to give Putin that label. But he then returned to the same reporter to ask her to repeat the question, and he answered in the affirmative.

Asked about Biden’s comments at a press briefing a short while later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that “the president's remarks speak for themselves.”

Standing in front of a U.S. flag, President Biden delivers remarks at the White House.
President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Wednesday. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

“He was speaking from his heart and speaking from what he's seen on television, which is barbaric actions by a brutal dictator through his invasion of a foreign country,” Psaki said, adding that a “legal process” by the State Department and United Nations to determine whether Putin should be charged with war crimes is ongoing.

Biden’s comments came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Congress and called for more aid to his country. During the speech, Zelensky showed a graphic video detailing Russia’s assault, which began on Feb. 24.

“I ask you to watch one video, a video of what the Russian troops did in our country,” Zelensky said. “We have to stop it, we must prevent it, prevent or destroy every single aggressor who seeks to subjugate other nations. Please watch the video.”

It has been difficult to calculate the number of civilian deaths in the nation, with officials in the city of Mariupol saying the official count of 2,400 could actually be as high as 20,000. Mariupol was the site of an airstrike on a children’s hospital last week that drew international condemnation.

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What happened this week in Ukraine? Check out this explainer from Yahoo Immersive to find out.

Where are Russian forces attacking Ukraine? Check out this explainer from Yahoo Immersive to find out.
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