The United States is formally accusing Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine as the country’s brutal assault on its neighboring nation approaches its one-year mark, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Saturday.
“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt,” Harris said in an address at the Munich Security Conference. “These are crimes against humanity.”
The vice president named gruesome acts of torture and rape, “execution-style” killings and the forcible deportation of thousands from Ukraine, including children, as evidence of a “widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population.”
The U.S. formally accused Russia of committing war crimes in March of last year, but asserting that the nation has perpetrated crimes against humanity goes a step further. In a statement released Saturday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the notation is reserved for “the most egregious crimes.”
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Harris vowed that the perpetrators of such crimes and “their superiors” will be held to account.
“Let us all agree: on behalf of all the victims, both known and unknown: justice must be served,” she said.