Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that the peace talks with Ukraine have hit a dead end and his country will achieve its “noble aims”, Reuters reported. This is his first public address after Russian troops retreated from northern Ukraine.

Putin dismissed Ukraine’s claims of Russia committing war crimes in Bucha. He added that the war must go on to defend the Russian speakers of eastern Ukraine, and prevent the area from being an “anti-Russian springboard for Moscow’s enemies,” Reuters reported.

On April 3, the mayor of Bucha had said 280 people had been buried in a mass grave. The videos and images shared on social media of the killings in Bucha had shown bodies of several civilians on the streets after Russian forces had withdrawn from the town this month. Some of the civilians had their hands tied back and seemed to have been shot from a close distance

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden, on Tuesday, for the first time, described Russia’s invasion as a genocide, The New York Times reported. He added that Putin is trying to “wipe out the idea of even being a Ukrainian”.

Zelenskyy expressed appreciation for Biden’s stand, the newspaper reported.

Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, in what it called a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” its neighbouring country. Ukraine and Western allies have said that this is a baseless pretext for a war of choice.

There have been 4,450 civilian casualties in Ukraine, according to the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner. There have been 1,892 deaths, and 2,558 people injured, although the actual figures are considerably higher, the UN body said.