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President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Russia was committing “genocide” in Ukraine.
“It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian,” Biden said of the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Tuesday marked the first time Biden has used the word “genocide” to refer to atrocities during Russia’s attack on Ukraine, although he has called Putin a war criminal.
Putin remains defiant in the face of growing condemnation over the invasion, saying, “There is no doubt that we will achieve our goals.”
Russian forces appear poised to intensify their attacks in eastern Ukraine, where the besieged city of Mariupol is located. Ukrainian forces have held out for weeks in the strategic city, but fears are growing for civilians trapped without basic supplies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he takes the possibility of chemical weapons' being used "as seriously as possible" and urges the West to send more weapons to help lift the siege.
The White House could announce a new $750 million military aid package for Ukraine as early as this week, U.S. officials said.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko has said more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in the key port city since Russia invaded.
Zelenskyy has accused Russian forces of leaving “thousands” of mines behind in the north before pulling out of the region.
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