Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken

Washington on Thursday slammed Russian atrocities in Ukraine and pledged its support for international investigations into war crimes, TURAN's U.S. correspondent reports.

“With each day, the war crimes mount. Rape. Torture. Extrajudicial executions. Disappearances. Forced deportations. Attacks on schools, hospitals, playgrounds, apartment buildings, grain silos, water and gas facilities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement before the Ukraine Accountability Conference at The Hague.

More than 40 countries, along with the U.S., UK Canada, Mexico, Australia, and EU member states, have agreed to coordinate investigations into suspected war crimes in Ukraine, shortly after what Kyiv said was a Russian missile strike that killed civilians far from front lines.

Russian atrocities, according to Blinken, are "not the acts of rogue units.”

“They fit a clear pattern, across every part of Ukraine touched by Russian forces. And they fit a clear pattern with Russia’s previous actions in conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and Ukraine starting in 2014,” he added.

With Ukraine’s assent, the U.S. and 44 other countries invoked the OSCE Moscow Mechanism for a second time early this month, establishing an expert mission to examine the further human rights abuses and humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

In the report released at yesterday's OSCE Permanent Council, the mission of experts found “clear patterns of serious violations of international humanitarian law attributable mostly to Russian armed forces.”

Washington believes that this is "consistent with the findings in the first report, released April 13," according to the State Department.

The current report, like its predecessor, also documents evidence of direct targeting of civilians, attacks on medical facilities, rape, torture, executions, looting, and forced transfer of civilians to Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and forced deportations to Russia itself.

It further identifies two new “alarming phenomena,” namely the “establishment and use of so-called filtration centers” and the “tendency of the Russian Federation to bypass its international obligations by handing detained people over” to its proxies in eastern Ukraine to let them “engage in problematic practices, including the imposition of the death penalty.”

"Taken together, the two reports comprise the most comprehensive accounting of evidence to-date of Russia’s human rights abuses, international humanitarian law violations, including potential war crimes, and other atrocities since President Putin launched his full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24."  State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

The U.S. and its partners "will seek to hold accountable those responsible for all human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, they commit in Ukraine." Price noted.

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.

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