Biden accuses Russia of carrying out genocide in Ukraine and ‘trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian’
Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Ukraine were at a “dead end” as the Russian president claimed that Kyiv had deviated from agreements struck in Istanbul.
“We reached a certain level of agreements in Istanbul, which stated that security guarantees for Ukraine . . . would not spread to Crimea, Sevastopol and Donbas,” Putin said on Tuesday, speaking publicly about Russia’s military activity after a prolonged silence on the subject. “We acted to create conditions to continue talks,” he added.
“Instead, we faced the provocation in Bucha and, what’s most important, the Ukrainian side deviated from the Istanbul agreements.” Now, “the security demands are one thing, and issues of regulating relations on Crimea, Sevastopol and Donbas are taken outside of those agreements”, Putin said. “So we are back to the dead-end situation.”
Speaking later on Tuesday, US president Joe Biden for the first time said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine amounted to genocide. Biden used the term genocide in a speech at an ethanol plant in Iowa and later stood by the description as he prepared to board Air Force One.
“Yes, I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian,” he told reporters.
Late on Tuesday, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Russia oligarch-politician and close friend of Putin, had been detained after fleeing house arrest during Russia’s full-blown invasion of the country.
“A special operation was carried out thanks to the SBU [state security service],” Zelensky wrote in a Telegram post. The post included a photograph of Medvedchuk sitting on a chair wearing a Ukrainian army camouflage uniform with his hands cuffed.
In his earlier comments, Putin called the massacre of civilians in Bucha, a town near Kyiv, a “provocation” against Moscow. He said allegations that people died at the hands of Russian soldiers were “fake news” from the US.
Ukraine meanwhile has said Russia was responsible. Putin said his military operation in Ukraine was going according to plan. “I often hear questions whether it is possible to move any faster. It is possible.
It depends on the intensity of military action, and the intensity of military action is unfortunately one way or another linked with losses,” Putin said at a media conference with his Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, according to Interfax.
“Our task is to achieve the set goals while minimising losses. And we will move rhythmically, calmly, according to plan, which was initially proposed by the general staff,” the Russian president said.
The activity in Ukraine “was only aimed at immobilising forces, attacking and destroying military infrastructure”, he added.
The latest figures from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights show that more than 1,800 civilians have been killed and almost 2,500 injured since the conflict began in February.