Joe Biden Calling Putin a 'War Criminal' is 'Unforgivable,' Russia Says

A Kremlin spokesperson said United States President Joe Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" for the military action in Ukraine is "unforgivable" when U.S. bombs kill people around the globe.

Biden told reporters Wednesday Putin "is a war criminal" for his invasion of Ukraine. Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov said what Biden mentioned was "unacceptable," according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.

"We consider unacceptable and unforgivable such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Several other world leaders have called Putin's military attacks in Ukraine war crimes, but the U.S. has refrained from doing so up until now. Russia's president is accused of targeting civilians, most notably the bombing of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupol last Wednesday, which killed three people and wounded at least 17.

Earlier this month, President Biden said it was "clear" Russian troops were targeting Ukrainian civilians but it was too "early to say" whether a war crime was being committed. Vice President Kamala Harris said Russia's actions targeting the maternity hospital would be investigated as a potential war crime but didn't say Russia had committed the crime as Poland's president did.

"It is obvious to us that in Ukraine Russians are committing war crimes," Poland President Andrzej Duda previously said regarding the attack against the hospital, according to the Associated Press.

With the war is entering its third week, Russia continues to face increasing criticism from other countries and international councils over its military aggression in Ukraine. Newsweek reported earlier on Wednesday the United Nations International Court of Justice ruled in a 13-2 vote, with Russia and China voting against, ordering Russia to "immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine."

Also on Wednesday, the Council of Europe decided to expel Russia from the human rights organization due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine; however, Russia said it would have left the council anyways, Newsweek previously reported.

Meanwhile, Russia is facing several international investigations into alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine and crimes against humanity, not only in this war but the one from 2014. The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation into the allegations of war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine after receiving nearly 40 referrals from other countries.

The investigation will look into alleged crimes committed in Ukraine between November 2013 and November 2014. A second inquiry will look at alleged crimes committed from February 2014, onwards.

Additionally, the U.N. Human Rights Council launched an independent investigation for alleged human rights violations during Russia's military action against Ukraine.

Update 3/16/22, 4:12 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Biden Calls Putin "War Criminal"
Above, Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Delaware, on March 16, 2019. Saul Loeb/ AFP/Getty Images