President Joe Biden on Thursday raised the tone against his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, describing him as a “murderous dictator” who has authorized “inhumane” attacks against Ukraine.
The U.S. President used those words a day after branding Putin a “war criminal” for Russia’s tactics in its invasion of Ukraine, something the Kremlin considered “unacceptable and unforgivable.”
“(Putin is) a murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine,” Biden said during a luncheon in Congress on the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, patron saint of Ireland.
Shortly before, Biden also directly condemned the Russian president during a virtual meeting with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin in the Oval Office. “Putin’s brutality and what he’s doing, and his troops are doing in Ukraine is just inhumane,” the president asserted.
On Wednesday, Biden for the first time described Putin as a “war criminal,” something his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, blamed on Russia’s “barbaric actions” during its invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. position on Putin
The United States assured earlier this month that it is “documenting” Russian attacks in Ukraine and their impact on the civilian population to ensure that Russia is “held accountable” in the event it is found to have committed war crimes.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, stressed that attacks on civilians in Ukraine are “a crime” that his office could investigate.
Biden’s Thursday meeting with the Irish prime minister was part of a tradition that had been interrupted during the pandemic.
The two leaders were unable to meet in person because Martin tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday night, while already in Washington, so he had to talk to Biden by video conference from the official White House guest house, called Blair House.
“Last year we met virtually from both sides of the Atlantic. This year, from both sides of the same street. So, we’re getting closer,” the Irish prime minister joked during the meeting.