WH indicates Putin war criminal comment was off the cuff, not a policy shift

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says US President Joe Biden was “speaking from his heart” in reaction to images of Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine when he called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, indicating that his comment may not have larger policy implications.

“He was answering a direct question that was asked and responding to what he has seen on television,” Psaki tells reporters. “We have all seen barbaric acts, horrific acts by a foreign dictator in a country that is threatening and taking the lives of civilians — impacting hospitals, women who are pregnant, journalists, others.”

“His remarks speak for themselves.”

She says a review by the State Department regarding the war criminal designation, which has legal ramifications, is still ongoing.

“There is a legal process that… continues to be underway at the State Department,” she says.


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