Blinken says war crimes committed in Ukraine, US experts work to document attacks

Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues
A view of a bedroom in a damaged apartment after an intercepted missile hit a residential building in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 17, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

March 17, 2022

By Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he agreed with President Joe Biden that war crimes had been committed in Ukraine and that US experts were gathering evidence to prove it.

Biden told reporters a day earlier that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “war criminal,” but the White House later said there had been no formal ruling on possible violations of international law since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine had been.

“Personally, I agree,” Blinken said in a press conference at the State Department.

“Deliberately attacking civilians is a war crime,” Blinken said, adding that after the destruction over the past few weeks, he “has a hard time concluding that the Russians are doing anything else.”

The Kremlin called Biden’s comment “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric.” Moscow says it is conducting a “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor and has denied claims of targeting civilians.

Blinken reported on recent incidents in which Russia bombed hospitals, schools and a theater where civilians were taking shelter, saying they were part of “a long list of attacks on civilian, non-military locations across Ukraine”.

Washington’s new ambassador for global criminal justice, Beth Van Schaack, who was confirmed by the US Senate on Tuesday, will lead State Department efforts aimed at “documenting and evaluating potential war crimes being committed in Ukraine,” she said Flash.

“We will ensure that our findings support international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable,” Blinken said.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, visited Ukraine and neighboring Poland this week after the court opened an investigation into possible war crimes in the conflict earlier this month.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio) Blinken says war crimes committed in Ukraine, US experts work to document attacks

Bobby Allyn

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