He said: “Genocide has a meaning. The Ukrainian people and Russian people are brotherly people.
“It’s madness what’s happening today. It’s unbelievable brutality and a return to war in Europe.
“But at the same time I look at the facts, and I want to continue to try the utmost to be able to stop the war and restore peace. I’m not sure if the escalation of words serves our cause.”
However, his comments drew an angry response from Kyiv with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko blasting the President, stating that “brotherly people” don’t “commit atrocities”.
He said: “Brotherly’ people don’t kill children, don’t shoot civilians, don’t rape women, don’t mutilate the elderly, and don’t destroy the homes of other ‘brotherly’ people.
“Even the fiercest enemies don’t commit atrocities against defenceless people.”
On Tuesday, Mr Biden accused Russia of commiting genocide and claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was “trying to wipe out” the idea of “being Ukrainian”.
The 46th US President said: “Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian. And the evidence is mounting.
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“More evidence is coming out of the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation.
“We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”
Michael Carpenter, US Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), clarified on Wednesday that the President’s comments did not represent an official US legal position.
Carpenter said Biden had made a “clear moral determination” but emphasised that a legal review was under way and that it is “going to take some time to be completed”.
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Quebec that he agreed with Mr Biden’s assessment of Russia’s actions as a genocide.
He said: “I think it’s absolutely right that more and more people be talking and using the word genocide in terms of what Russia is doing, what Vladimir Putin has done.
“We have seen this desire to attack civilians, to use sexual violence as a weapon of war. This is completely unacceptable.”