French President Emmanuel Macron wouldn’t back President Biden’s claim earlier in the week that Russia is committing “genocide” in Ukraine. The French leader instead warned that an escalation of rhetoric wouldn’t bring peace.
Macron accused Russia of “war crimes” in Ukraine but favors diplomacy as the best way to end the fighting. “I want to try as much as possible to continue to be able to stop this war and to rebuild peace. I’m not sure that verbal escalations serve this cause,” he said.
Macron is one of the few Western leaders who has maintained contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Russia invaded on February 24. Biden hasn’t spoken with Putin, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hasn’t spoken with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, since February 15.
For his stance, Macron has come under fire from Ukrainian officials and other NATO countries. Last week, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki slammed the French leader for talking with Putin, likening it to “negotiating with Hitler.”
Ukrainian officials also criticized Macron for not agreeing with Biden’s claims of genocide. Macron said it was best to be careful with such terminology, and described Russians and Ukrainians as “brotherly peoples.”
On the same day Biden accused Russia of genocide, Newsweek published an article quoting a senior official from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency who said the civilian casualties in Ukraine are typical of modern warfare and “hardly” amount to genocide.
Ned Price did not like being questioned about Joe Biden's claim that Russia is committing a genocide in Ukraine, or about why the State Department isn't launching an inquiry into whether Russia is committing a genocide like it did with accusations of war crimes pic.twitter.com/UgmIm0an7Z
— Dylan Housman (@Dylan_Housman) April 14, 2022
Below is the key quote from the DIA official:
The official, who has been conducting intelligence analysis of the Ukraine war and requested anonymity to discuss classified matters and share personal views, says the Bucha effect led to frozen negotiations and a skewed view of the war.
"I am not for a second excusing Russia's war crimes, nor forgetting that Russia invaded the country," says the DIA official.
"But the number of actual deaths is hardly genocide. If Russia had that objective or was intentionally killing civilians, we'd see a lot more than less than .01 percent in places like Bucha," the official emphasized.
The remark was part of Macron's rebuttal of Biden's genocide accusation against Russia. Macron emphasizes France's commitment to investigating Russian war crimes, but much like his rebuttal of Biden's use of the word "butcher" won't say genocide. pic.twitter.com/xw5JjiRCOB
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) April 13, 2022