As the death toll keeps rising in Ukraine amid war crimes and fighting between Russia’s forces and Ukrainians, French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on his counterparts to carefully choose their words when it comes to describing Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of the Kyiv region and the infamously known Bucha massacre have left evidence of war crimes, according to experts. The ongoing investigations have prompted US President Joe Biden to accuse Russia of carrying a genocide. For Macron, the international community shouldn’t cross that line.
Emmanuel Macron warned on French broadcaster France Bleu: “The word genocide has a meaning, and the word genocide today should be qualified by lawyers, not by politicians.”
“And I draw everyone’s attention to it. If it is genocide, the States that consider it to be genocide are obliged by international conventions to intervene.”
“Is that what people want? I don’t think so.”
According to the Genocide Convention, genocide is an intention of destroying “in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Though Putin’s attempt to destroy the Ukrainian people seems obvious, the convention says that “the intent is the most difficult element to determine.”
Member states of the Convention have the obligation to punish genocides and to try people charged with genocide in a tribunal of the state – that is Russia, in the case of the Ukraine-Russia war.
Justifying his choice of word, US President Joe Biden said: “Yes, I called it a genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian.”
Reflecting on the implications of calling the war a genocide, French President Macron said: “That is, to become a co-belligerent. So, I think that everybody should know how to be reasonable.”
The NATO alliance has been careful not to take part in the war by any direct means to avoid escalating it into a full-blown Third World War. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have also stopped short of calling the war a genocide.
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After retreating from northern Ukraine, Russian troops are now combatting Ukrainians in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for more weapons in a tweet: “Without additional weapons, this war will turn into an endless bloodbath that will spread misery, suffering and destruction. Mariupol, Bucha, Kramatorsk – the list goes on. No one will stop Russia except Ukraine with heavy weapons.”