Russian commanders who commit war crimes 'face twilight years behind bars,' Raab warns

1 March 2022, 08:49 | Updated: 1 March 2022, 09:16

Raab warns army commanders could face war crime trials

By Emma Soteriou

Russian commanders who are responsible for war crimes will spend their "twilight years behind bars", Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has told LBC.

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Mr Raab's comments come after Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Russia of war crimes in a direct address on Monday evening, stating that "Russian forces brutally fired on Kharkiv from jet artillery".

Despite not being able to confirm Russia's potential deployment of cluster bombs, Mr Raab said anyone responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine would be "held to account".

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Raab said: "There is a clear determination from the international community to make sure that any war crimes are held to account whether it is Putin or those around him in Moscow or commanders on the ground.

"They must know that if they carry out those orders, there is a reasonable prospect now that the evidence will be captured - will be gathered- and they will end up in the dock of a court and end up spending their twilight years behind bars.

"That is the message the international community is sending.

Read more: Siege of Kyiv: Putin's 40-mile convoy heads to capital as he is accused of 'war crimes'

Read more: Putin's war machine 'is being starved', Deputy PM says after 'cluster strikes' hit Kharkiv

"You will have already seen that the ICC prosecutor in The Hague - who happens to be Brit Karim Khan - say that they are actively looking at the reports coming out of Ukraine."

"If there are violations of the laws of war, there will be responsibility and accountability for that," Mr Raab went on to say.

He added: "There will be no impunity for war crimes."

Deputy PM defends 'heartless' Ukrainian refugee plan

The deputy PM's warning follows reports that a 40-mile military convoy is nearing closer to Urkaine's capital.

However, he said that Putin's decision to become more "heavy-handed" was because he "stumbled and stuttered with the initial steps" of the invasion, commending Ukrainians for their the bravery as well as Western sanctions for stunting his progress.

Mr Raab explained that financial sanctions against Russia were the method being used to "starve Russia's war machine", with the Russian rouble plummeting to an all-time low on Monday as well as the stock exchange falling.

The UK Government is also set to crack down on foreign oligarchs who launder their money through the UK's property market in fast-tracked plans to tackle "dirty money".

Ministers will table the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, which will establish a new register of overseas entities.

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