Since launching his unprovoked and unjust war of choice, Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed relentless violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine. We have seen many credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately targeting civilians, as well as other atrocities. Russian forces destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers and ambulances, killing or injuring thousands of innocent civilians.
Last week I echoed President Biden’s statement, based on the countless stories and images of destruction and suffering that we have all seen, that war crimes had been committed by Putin’s forces in Ukraine. . I noted then that the deliberate targeting of civilians is a war crime. I pointed out that the State Department and other US government experts were documenting and assessing potential war crimes in Ukraine.
Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the US government believes that members of Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
As with any alleged crime, a court of competent jurisdiction is ultimately responsible for determining criminal culpability in specific cases. The U.S. government will continue to monitor war crimes reports and will share the information we collect with allies, partners, and international institutions and organizations as appropriate. We are committed to pursuing accountability using all available tools, including criminal prosecution.