Macron refuses to call Russia’s war in Ukraine a ‘genocide’
“What we can say with certainty is that the situation is unacceptable and that it is about war crimes,” Macron said. “We are experiencing unprecedented war crimes on our soil – our European soil.”
Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, blasted Macron’s remarks, saying his “reluctance to recognize the genocide of Ukrainians after all the outspoken statements by [the] Russian leadership and the criminal actions of [the] The Russian army is disappointing.
“‘Brotherly’ people don’t kill children,” Nikolenko said, adding that “there is no morality, no real reason to have conversations about the ‘brotherly’ relationship of Russian and Ukrainian people.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that the grisly scenes in Bucha, a kyiv suburb where bodies were discovered in every neighborhood after Russian troops withdrew, were “not far from a genocide”.
Wednesday was not the first time Macron had deviated from Biden’s comments on the war. Late last month, the French president warned of an escalation of the conflict through word or deed after his American counterpart said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power”.
In early March, Putin called Macron for a 90-minute discussion on Ukraine, but there was no diplomatic breakthrough.
“Your country will pay dearly because it will end up as an isolated country, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time,” Macron reportedly told Putin.
On Wednesday, Russia dismissed Biden’s “genocide” charges in Ukraine.
“We categorically disagree with them,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “We consider it unacceptable to attempt such a distortion of the situation.”
He added: “It is hardly acceptable for the President of the United States of America.”
The United Nations, which first recognized genocide as a crime under international law in 1946, defines it as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious “.
UN officials use the term aptly; the agency noted that it is frequently misused “in reference to serious and large-scale crimes committed against particular populations”. Only a few incidents have been qualified as genocide by judicial bodies, the United Nations said, including the 1994 killings of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.
Rick Noack in Paris contributed to this report.