The United States is supporting a multinational team to collect and analyze evidence of atrocities in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.
“Right now, at the request of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the United States is supporting a multinational team of international prosecutors to the region to directly support the efforts of the Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Unit to collect, preserve and analyze evidence of atrocities with a view towards pursuing criminal accountability,” Price said at a State Department briefing.
“Those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable, as must those who ordered them. They cannot and will not act with impunity,” Price added.
Price also said that based on the reports the US has seen, the atrocities “are not the act of a rogue soldier,” but rather “part of a broader, troubling campaign.”
He noted that “as Russia’s forces have retreated over the past few days, the world has been shocked by the horrifying images of the Kremlin’s brutality in Bucha and other cities near Kyiv. Civilians, many with their hands tied apparently executed in the streets, others in mass graves.”
“We are seeing credible reports of torture, rape, and civilians executed alongside their families,” he said. “There are reports and images of a nightmare litany of atrocities including reports of landmines and booby traps left behind by Putin’s forces to insult even more civilians and slow the stabilization and recovery of devastated communities after they failed in their objective and withdrew.”
“In keeping with its long track record of accusing others of its own heinous acts, the Kremlin issued a baseless and shameless denial of what we can all clearly see in Bucha and throughout the liberated towns of Kyiv oblast,” he said.
More background: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on March 23 that the US government had determined that members of the Russian armed forces are committing war crimes in Ukraine.
At the time, Beth Van Schaack, ambassador-at-Large for global criminal justice, said the US government would “continue to track reports coming out of Ukraine of war crimes, and we will share this information with our friends and allies and with international and multilateral institutions, as appropriate.”
“This is going to be an ongoing process throughout this conflict,” she said.
Blinken reiterated this in his interview with CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, saying, “Since the aggression, we’ve come out and said that we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes and we’ve been working to document that, to provide the information that we have to the relevant institutions and organizations that will put all of this together, and there needs to be accountability for it.”