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Durbin: Russia's actions in Ukraine are genocide

Tim Shelley
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. speaks at Bradley University's Westlake Hall atrium in Peoria on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he believes Russia's actions in the country's ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine constitute a genocide.

Following an unrelated press conference at Bradley University on Tuesday, Durbin agreed with recent statements by President Joe Biden.

"I have no doubt in my mind, binding innocent civilians and shooting them in the head in mass execution style is nothing short of a genocide," he said. "It has nothing to do with a military advance or military forces. It is a hateful design effort to eradicate a people, the Ukrainian people. Yes, it is genocide."

Durbin said the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin are "outrageous," but stopped short of backing a military deployment to Ukraine, alluding to the Cold War-era concept of "mutually assured destruction" between nuclear powers.

"The difficulty is this. If we were to interject, interject ourselves in that situation, it would change the calculus overnight for Putin. But we'd run the risk of World War III, and possibly something even worse," Durbin said.

Durbin said he hopes Ukraine can defend itself without direct military support, instead using the resources supplied by the United States and its NATO allies.

"We thought that Kyiv was going to fall in a matter of days. And it didn't. Because of the determination of the Ukrainian people. They have thwarted Putin's advances in so many parts of the country," he said.

Russia currently appears to be massing troops in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine in what appears to be a major new offensive in the conflict.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.