EXPLAINER: Why using term ‘genocide’ matters in Ukraine war

Carolyn Kaster - staff, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says Russia’s attack on Ukraine and Ukrainians amounts to “genocide.” And Biden accuses President Vladimir Putin of trying to “wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian.”

Declaring any targeted campaign aimed at wiping out a group as genocide is not just a strong word – it could carry obligations to act.

That’s because of a genocide treaty approved by the U.N. General Assembly in the years immediately after World War II, and signed by the United States and more than 150 other nations.

The convention was the work of campaigners including a Polish Jew who’d seen his family murdered by Adolf Hitler and Hitler’s accomplices.

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