The Biden administration has officially concluded that Russia has committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine, according to remarks made by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Harris listed a series of acts allegedly carried out by the Russian military in its nearly yearlong invasion of Ukraine that Moscow calls a “special military operation.” These acts include “execution-style killings, beatings, and electrocution” as well as “torture of civilians in detention through beatings, electrocution, and mock executions; rape; and, alongside other Russian officials, have deported hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians to Russia, including children who have been forcibly separated from their families.”
The U.S. State Department determined last March that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine, and have since been examining new evidence to determine whether Moscow’s actions meet the more stringent definition of “crimes against humanity.” Harris stated that the evidence leaves “no doubt” that Russian forces have perpetrated atrocities. Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed these remarks, noting that the State Department’s review found that Russian forces had committed such acts which were neither random nor spontaneous but rather “part of the Kremlin’s widespread attack against Ukraine’s civilian population.”
The Russian Embassy in the UK has accused the Ukrainian military in March 2022 of carrying out both “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in eastern Ukraine, accusing Kyiv of “exterminating” the civilian population in the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alleged in a statement Saturday that the United States and its allies were waging a “comprehensive hybrid war” against Russia, trying to defeat it on the battlefield, destroy its economy with sanctions, isolate it internationally, and turn Russia into a “rogue state.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was asked what he thought about the U.S. determination that Russia had committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine. He replied that Russia had waged a “genocidal war against Ukrainians” and that “everything that stems from that is crimes against humanity, war crimes, and various other atrocities committed by the Russian army in the territory of Ukraine.” He expressed hope that Western powers would provide Kyiv with its much sought-after fighter jets.