Since the early days of the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjust war of choice on Ukraine, the United States warned that Russia's forces may be using tactics that constitute war crimes.
“We’ve seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded. Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.”
Included among civilian facilities hit by Russia’s military are a maternity hospital Mariupol, and a Mariupol theater that was being used as a shelter by civilians, resulting in hundreds of casualties. The theater was clearly marked with the word “children” in huge white letters, painted on both the front and back parking lots and clearly visible from the sky.
Such horrific attacks against civilian targets are nothing new for Vladimir Putin’s invading forces, said Secretary Blinken.
“Putin’s forces used these same tactics in Grozny, Chechnya, and Aleppo, Syria, where they intensified their bombardment of cities to break the will of the people,” Secretary Blinken said.
“Their attempt to do so in Ukraine has again shocked the world, and, as President Zelenskyy has soberly attested, ‘bathed the people of Ukraine in blood and tears.’”
“As of March 22, officials in besieged Mariupol said that more than 2,400 civilians had been killed in that city alone,” said Secretary Blinken. “Not including the Mariupol devastation, the United Nations has officially confirmed more than 2,500 civilian casualties, including dead and wounded, and emphasizes the actual toll is likely higher.”
That is why Secretary Blinken announced on March 23 that , based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“As with any alleged crime, a court of law with jurisdiction over the crime is ultimately responsible for determining criminal guilt in specific cases,” said Secretary Blinken. “The U.S. government will continue to track reports of war crimes and will share information we gather with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations, as appropriate,” he said.
“We are committed to pursuing accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions."