US President Joe Biden’s reckless allegation last week that Russia was committing genocide in Ukraine has not been challenged by the country’s spy agencies, raising eyebrows among White House officials, local media reports said.
The claim of genocide “has so far not been corroborated by information collected by US intelligence agencies,” mainstream NBC News reported Friday citing senior administration officials.
The news network further quoted two State Department officials as saying that Biden’s claim “made it harder for the agency to credibly do its job,” insisting that it is up to the department to formally determine genocide and other war crimes.
“Genocide includes a goal of destroying an ethnic group or nation and, so far, that is not what we are seeing,” an unnamed US intelligence official also noted as quoted by the network.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also refused to call it genocide.
“Based on what we have seen so far, we have seen atrocities, we have seen war crimes. We have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide,” Sullivan told reporters at the time. “But, again, that’s something we will continue to monitor.”
In a further ratcheting up of Washington’s offensive against Moscow over its military operation against the Western-backed Kiev, Biden accused Russia's President Vladimir Putin of committing genocide in Ukraine during policy speech last Tuesday attributing surging gas prices in his country to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Biden further accused Moscow of “trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian.”
His remarks came after Kiev claimed that Russian troops were killing civilians in Bucha and other towns near the Ukrainian capital.
Moscow, however, denies that its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in Bucha, or elsewhere in Ukraine, insisting that Kiev was waging a smear campaign against it.
Biden’s allegations came after clashes escalated between Russian troops and Ukrainian forces over the control of the besieged port city of Mariupol on Tuesday.
Since the onset of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Moscow has been trying to connect the Crimean Peninsula with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass, laying siege to the strategically-located city of Mariupol, once home to more than 400,000 people.
Russian media said on Tuesday that troops aimed to take control of Mariupol, located in southeastern Ukraine and on the north coast of the Sea of Azov, while Ukrainian forces tried to hold them back.
Putin announced the military operation in Ukraine on February 24 in response to a failure of Kiev and its Western backers to offer Russia security guarantees in demand amid persisting efforts by the US-led NATO military alliance to further advance eastwards closer to the Russian border.