Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine to see for himself the evidence that Russians are committing “genocide” against Ukrainians, a description Macron has side-stepped using.
“I think he [Macron] wants to take some steps to ensure that Russia engages in dialogue. I just told him that I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide,” Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
He added: “I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He'll come and see, and I am sure he will understand.”
Zelenskyy stressed that the atrocities committed by the Russians amounted to genocide: “Look what happened in Bucha. It's clear that is not even a war, it's a genocide. They just killed people. Not soldiers, people. They just shot people in the streets. People were riding bicycles, taking the bus or just walking down the street. There were corpses lining the streets.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials entered the town of Bucha, where the authorities said over 410 residents were killed by Russian forces. They reported mass graves, “executed” civilians, and shared images of bodies left on the streets, some with their hands bound behind their backs.
Moscow denied targeting civilians and claimed that Kyiv “staged” a “provocation” for Western media.
US President Joe Biden said last week that the civilian killings at the hands of the Russians in Ukraine were genocide. “I called it genocide because it has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian and the evidence is mounting,” he added.
Meanwhile, Macron avoided characterizing the Russian atrocities as genocide and warned that accusing Moscow of such a committing that would lead to the war spreading.