US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he believes Russia is intentionally targeting civilians in Ukraine but declined to say whether he believed war crimes were being committed.
“It’s clear they are” targeting civilians, Biden said.
Asked if he believed Russia is committing war crimes, Biden said, “We are following it very closely. It’s too early to say that.”
As the US looks for ways to punish Russia, Biden also reiterated that sanctioning Russian oil exports remained a possibility, though officials have cautioned that they will work to minimize the impact of such a move on US and global oil prices.
“Nothing is off the table,” Biden said when specifically pressed on banning Russian oil exports.
Separately, Biden also said it is up to Ukrainian leader Volodomyr Zelensky to decide whether he wants to remain in his country as it comes under siege by Russia.
"I think it’s his judgment to make and we’re doing everything we can to help him," Biden said as he departed the White House.
Zelensky has said he is Russia's top target during the invasion, and that his family is the second. The US has said previously it is providing a broad range of support for Zelensky, though hasn't detailed what measures it's taking to protect him
CNN has reported previously that the US has discussed contingency plans with Zelensky about leaving Ukraine or relocating to Lviv. Zelensky has stated repeatedly he wants to stay in the capital.
Biden and Zelensky spoke for about 30 minutes on Tuesday.