White House: U.S. hasn't seen war crimes that rise to genocide in Ukraine
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday the U.S. has "not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide" in Ukraine.
State of play: Sullivan's remark at a press briefing echoed President Biden's assessment earlier Monday of the situation in Bucha, where Russian forces are accused of committing war crimes. But it contrasts with how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described Russia's actions there.
Driving the news: As Ukrainian forces retook the Kyiv region and other areas over the weekend, officials and independent photographers reported bodies of civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.
- Satellite images show a 45-foot-long trench on the grounds of a church in Bucha, where a mass grave was found after Russian troops withdrew.
- Russia's Defense Ministry has rejected the reports.
What they're saying: Sullivan said that the images of killed civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, are "further evidence of war crimes" by Russian forces.
- "We have seen atrocities, we have seen war crimes, we have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide," Sullivan said. "But again, that is something we will continue to monitor."
- "This has been a matter of policy in this war to kill civilians … and to impose a reign of terror. That is what we have seen play out," he said, before adding, "This was part of the plan.”
Sullivan said the U.S. would announce new sanctions against Russia "this week."
The big picture: The images emerging from Bucha have prompted widespread condemnation, with European Union leaders and Biden vowing to respond with sanctions.
- France and Germany announced Monday that they would expel a number of Russian diplomats from their posts.
- UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Monday said the U.S. would seek to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.