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The United States government has declared that members of Russia’s armed forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made this announcement on March 23, 2022. Prior to Blinken’s declaration, President Joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stated they felt that the Russian army had committed war crimes.
America’s decision is “based on information currently available, the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” according to Blinken’s statement. Officials carefully reviewed all the information given to them from intelligence and public sources.
Declaring that members of the Russian armed forces have committed crimes is a significant step by the American government. Of course, these declarations are only allegations — though based on facts — and “a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases,” Blinken added.
He went on to say that America will continue its efforts and “track reports of war crimes.” They will relay the data they gather to their partners, allies, and international organizations and institutions.
During his statement, Blinken cited creditable sources of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, including the destruction of schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings.
The Department of State specifically named the attacks on the theater and a maternity ward in Mariupol. Before the theater was bombed the word “children” — written in Russian — could be seen from the sky on either side of the theater.
Officials could not comment on the full details that caused them to determine that Russian forces committed war crimes, however, they were “looking at the broad range that Russia’s forces are engaged in” in Ukraine, stated America’s ambassador at large for global criminal justice, Beth Van Schaack.
The world has been watching the horrors unfold as Russia began its invasion into Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of war crimes a few weeks ago for the destruction they have caused in his country.
Written by Sheena Robertson
CNN: US formally declares Russian military has committed war crimes in Ukraine; by Jennifer Hansler and Jeremy Herb
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