“I think he is a war criminal,” Biden said to reporters after remarks at the White House.
But officials have been clear they believe atrocities are underway and that the intentional targeting of civilians would constitute war crimes.
“The President’s remarks speak for themselves,” press secretary Jen Psaki said afterward. She said Biden was “speaking from the heart.”
She said the ongoing investigation at the State Department into war crimes was still underway.
Biden initially said “no” when asked whether Putin was a war criminal, but immediately returned to a group of reporters to clarify what had been asked. When asked again whether Putin was a war criminal, he answered in the affirmative.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.