In the most general sense, "genocide" is destroying a people.
The convention which specifies what that means tries to list various ways of how that may be accomplished.
The name of the convention is "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." It's aim is as much (if not more) prevention as it is punishing the crime of genocide.
Waiting until the crime has happened to collect all the evidence to punish the guilty would make prevention impossible. So the convention is designed to make it possible to identify a genocide while it's still happening so that it can be stopped before it gets any further.
To quote the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with
intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
The bold part indicates that there has to be intent. Russia has stated the intent to destroy Ukraine as a country and to erase Ukrainian national identity. Yale history professor Timothy Snyder breaks it down here.
Once the intent is stated, it remains to be seen if ANY(!!!) of the components are present.
- Is the Russian army "killing members of the group?"
YES. Well, obviously it is.
- Is the Russian army "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group?"
YES. In fact numerous reports of war crimes and atrocities committed by the Russian army have been reports of crimes committed against Ukraine's civilians.
- Is Russia "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part?"
MAYBE. There are reports that Russia is bringing Russian-language teachers into the occupied Kherson area to conduct all lessons in Russian and to remove all Ukrainian-language lessons in the occupied city. This hasn't been confirmed yet. So, at least for now, these can be dismissed as rumors. But they can't be entirely ignored because they are consistent with Russia's stated intent of erasing Ukrainian national identity.
- Is Russia "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group?"
MAYBE. Russia has been credibly accused of deliberately targeting for destruction maternity hospitals in Ukraine. I don't have the exact figures on this as reports trickled in one by one, as they happened.
- Is Russia "forcibly transferring children of the group to another group?"
YES. And quite a bit. As many 183,000 children have been reported forcibly transferred to Russia and there are reports of forced illegal adoptions of these children by Russian families.