US President Joe Biden accused Russia of committing a “genocide” in Ukraine during a speech in Iowa on Tuesday, while trying to promote corn-based ethanol as a way to lower gas prices amid a 40-year record inflation.
“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” Biden said in Menlo, Iowa, some 45 miles west of Des Moines. The hamlet of some 300 residents is located next to a factory producing bioethanol from corn – something the White House is trying to encourage now in order to combat the rising fuel prices, for which it blames Russia.
“I’m doing everything within my power by executive orders to bring down the price and address the Putin price hike,” Biden said, using his administration’s talking point about the 48% spike in prices at the pump since March 2021.
This is Biden’s first officially recorded use of “genocide” to describe the conflict in Ukraine. Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed the alleged mass killings in the town of Bucha were genocide, for which he blamed Russia.
When asked about it on April 4, Biden said, “No, I think it is a war crime.”
His national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters later that there was a process in determining what amounted to genocide, and that the US has “not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide,” though that is “something we will continue to monitor.”