There’s little doubt that Putin’s wanton, unprovoked attack on civilians adds up to a war crime. But is it, as Joe Biden has now stated, genocide? “Not every act of violence against civilians qualifies as an act of genocide — nor does every such act motivated by racial, national, or religious hatred. Instead, it is an act of genocide when it is part of a plan to ‘destroy’ the target group — that is, to annihilate not just individual members but the group as a collective. In the Russian case, establishing that Russian soldiers intentionally killed Ukrainian civilians is not enough to prove genocide. It wouldn’t even be enough if the soldiers said they did it because they hated Ukrainians. Instead, you would need to show that the killings were part of an intentional effort to wipe out the Ukrainian people.”

+ Whether it fits the definition of genocide or not, it’s bad. Really bad, And the international court is on the scene. “We have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court are being committed.” Meanwhile, Joe Biden spoke with Zelensky on Wednesday and again received a request for more heavy weaponry. Here’s the latest from BBC.

+ In The Atlantic, Eliot A. Cohen explains why this is the war’s decisive moment. “Russia’s sheer brutality and utterly unwarranted aggression, compounded by lies at once sinister and ludicrous, have endangered what remains of the global order and the norms of interstate conduct. If such behavior leads to humiliation on the battlefield and economic chaos at home, those norms may be rebuilt to some degree; if Vladimir Putin’s government gets away with it, restoring them will take a generation or longer … Putin will order offensives that, if confronted by a well-resourced Ukrainian foe, can effectively destroy his own army. The challenge for the West is to ensure that this is its fate … The Obama administration, many of whose veterans serve in this White House, failed wretchedly when it declared a red line over the use of chemical weapons in Syria and then walked away from it. Ukrainians and Syrians alike have paid cruelly for that pusillanimity … The moment requires a bit of Shakespeare’s Henry V, but what has been on display has been too much of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.”