Biden planning new sanctions on Russia following reports of mass killings in Bucha

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday said he is seeking additional sanctions on Russia and again called President Vladimir Putin a war criminal following reports of a mass killing of civilians by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

«You may remember I was criticized for calling Putin a war criminal,» Biden said in brief remarks to reporters. «Well, the truth of the matter, you saw what happened in Bucha. This warrants him — he is a war criminal.»

«This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone’s seen it,» he added.

Biden said the United States will continue to gather information to support war crime charges against Putin. He said the U.S. is also working on additional sanctions and will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine.

Biden’s comment came in response to reports over the weekend of atrocities Ukrainians say have been committed in the town of Bucha, near Kyiv, where grisly images purportedly show slain civilians throughout the city, including some who appear to have been shot at close range with their hands behind their backs.

Ukrainian officials said there were more than 400 people killed before Russian troops pulled out of the city. The Associated Press reported scenes of bodies scattered around a site that residents said Russian troops used as a base, with victims in civilian clothing who appeared to have been killed at close range, at least two with their hands tied behind their backs.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, said it is considering additional sanctions on Russia in response to the killings and an investigation by the International Criminal Court. French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday there were “clear indications” that Russia was responsible for killing civilians in Bucha, adding that this amounted to “strong evidence of war crimes.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community to take stronger action following the reports from Bucha, saying fresh sanctions would not be enough.

Russia’s defense ministry has denied the claims, calling them a “provocation,” dismissing photographs and video showing damaged city streets strewn with bodies.

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