US intelligence unhappy with Biden – media
An accusation from President Joe Biden that Russia is committing “genocide” in Ukraine has raised concerns among officials in the White House and has not been confirmed by US intelligence agencies, NBC News reported on Friday, citing senior government officials.
Last weeks claim “has so far not been corroborated by information collected by US intelligence agencies,” the report said.
The news outlet quoted two State Department officials as saying that Biden’s remarks “made it harder for the agency to credibly do its job,” since it is up to the department to formally determine war crimes.
“Genocide includes a goal of destroying an ethnic group or nation and, so far, that is not what we are seeing,” a US intelligence official was quoted as saying. At the same time, NBC added, the intelligence community is concerned that Russia’s actions “could amount to genocide” in the future.
On Tuesday, during a domestic policy speech in Iowa, Biden accused Moscow of “trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian.” The statement came after Kiev claimed that Russian troops were killing civilians in Bucha and other towns near the Ukrainian capital. Mass graves and bodies with signs of executions were discovered in the area from where the Russian forces retreated in late March.
Moscow denies that its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in Bucha, or elsewhere in Ukraine, and accuses Kiev of waging a smear campaign.
Prior to the launch of its offensive, Russia had accused Ukraine of committing “a genocide” against the people of Donbass. This claim was rejected by Ukraine, as well as by the US and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk Agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.