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US accuses Russia of committing 'crimes against humanity' during Ukraine invasion
18 February 2023, 17:28 | Updated: 19 February 2023, 00:00
The United States has formed determined that Russia has committed “crimes against humanity” in Ukraine, Vice President Kamala Harris has said.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, Ms Harris said, “We have examined the evidence. We know the legal standards. And there is no doubt. These are crimes against humanity.”
"You will be held to account,” Harris said.
She said if Russian leader Vladimir Putin succeeds in attacking international rules and norms, "other nations could feel emboldened to follow his example.
“Other authoritarian powers could seek to bend the world to their will, through coercion, disinformation and even brute force.”
In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is also at the conference, said members of Putin's forces "have committed execution-style killings of Ukrainian men, women, and children; 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."
Mr Blinken said such acts were not random or spontaneous, and were "part of the Kremlin’s widespread and systematic attack against Ukraine’s civilian population."
Russia, which has described the invasion of its neighbour as a “special military operation” to eliminate threats to its security, has denied intentionally targeting civilians or committing war crimes.
Moscow has yet to respond to the Vice President's speech at the German summit, which came as senior Western leaders met to assess the conflict which began nearly a year ago.
During her speech at the Munich Security Conference, Ms Harris reiterated that Washington intends to assist Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”
“The United States of America is proud to be your partner in this noble pursuit," she said.