US Finds Russian Troops Have Committed War Crimes In Ukraine
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Russia's armed forces have committed war crimes during the invasion of Ukraine, the US government has said.
It's the 28th day of Russian President Vladimir Putin's 'special military operation'. More than three million people have fled the country, while thousands of civilians and troops have lost their lives as a result of the conflict.
Particularly in the wake of the bombing of a maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol - which Russia described as 'fake news' - troops have been accused of war crimes for the 'atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people'.
Breaking: The US government has formally declared that members of the Russian armed forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/WvJpGxYvHD— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 23, 2022
Russia has repeatedly claimed it's not targeting civilians, but the collateral damage from the war is mounting every day, with the UN's last estimate placing the civilian death toll at more than 900. However, it's feared the actual number could be far higher.
Coming after the US Senate unanimously declared Putin a 'war criminal', President Joe Biden's administration has formally determined that Russian forces have committed war crimes during the invasion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said (as per AP): "Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine."
The Russian army is killing Ukrainians every day -- soldiers, civilians, children. People are afraid to spend the night at home because of missile strikes and bombings. How can you help? By sharing the truth. #StopTheLies pic.twitter.com/CfU1LrslZa— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 22, 2022
The assessment, based on a 'careful review' of public and intelligence sources during the invasion, will be shared with allies, partners and international institutions investigating war crime allegations.
Blinken said: "We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities.
"Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centres, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded."
Prior to the Senate passing the 'war criminal' resolution, Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said: "All of us in this chamber joined together, with Democrats and Republicans, to say that Vladimir Putin cannot escape accountability for the atrocities committed against the Ukrainian people."
The UK's Justice Secretary Dominic Raab offered support to the UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, hoping to bring together a broad coalition of countries to assist with the investigation.
He said: "Russian commanders carrying out war crimes should know they cannot act with impunity. Like Radovan Karadzic and Charles Taylor before them, their actions risk landing them in a jail cell."
However, not only is the ICC not recognised by Russia, but its authority also isn't recognised by the US. It's hoped the US would still assist with prosecution.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information