Volodymyr Zelensky hits out at Macron refusing to use genocide term ‘Come here and see!’

Ukraine: Zelensky responds to video of civilian killings by Russia

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After French President Macron avoided the term ‘genocide’ to describe the ongoing atrocities by Russia’s forces Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited him to see evidence for himself in a phone conversation. Previously, US President Joe Biden had used the term, but because of the potential risks of war escalation, President Macron had warned other world leaders against using it. Zelensky now wants him to travel to Ukraine and see evidence of genocide first-hand.

Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN: “I just told him that I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide.”

“He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he will understand.”

Both presidents held a phone conversation last Thursday, Zelensky told CNN, adding Macron’s refusal to use the designation was “very painful for us.”

“I think he wants to take some steps to ensure that Russia engages in dialogue”, said Zelensky to justify Macron’s reluctance.

Macron defended his decision on French Television last week, saying: 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.”

In the worst-case scenario, President Macron added, states would “become co-belligerent.”

For his part, US President Joe Biden justified his use of genocide “because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian.”

Genocide is the intent of destroying “in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, according to the Genocide Convention – a designation harder to make than a war crime. 

In mid-February, Putin told the Russian people that Ukraine was carrying out a genocide in Ukraine’s war-torn, eastern region of Donbass – hence the need to send special forces to restore peace in the region.

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President Zelensky’s invitation to President Macron comes as what appears as the first images of Putin’s sinking warship Moskva are emerging. While Russia claimed the fire onboard caused ammunition to explode and sank the boat, Ukraine said it successfully struck the boat with missiles last Wednesday. Kyiv claimed it killed all 510 crew passengers, in contrast to Russia who claimed all crew on board were rescued.

What is clear is that Moskva was Russia’s biggest warship to sink since World War Two and the second one since the start of its invasion of Ukraine.

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