On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of committing war crimes.
During a news conference at the State Department, Blinken said, “Yesterday, President Biden said that in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree,” adding, “Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past few weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.”
“Russian forces bombed a theatre in Mariupol where hundreds of people had taken shelter. The word children had been written in Russian in giant white letters on the pavement outside the building so that you could know from the air that there were children inside,” Blinken noted.
“Russian forces also opened fire on 10 civilians who were waiting in line for bread,” he said, adding that the United States had so far seen a “long list of attacks on civilian and nonmilitary locations across Ukraine.”
ABC News reported, “Just moments before Blinken stepped out to speak, a State Department official confirmed to ABC News that a U.S. citizen was killed Thursday in Ukraine after Chernihiv regional police reported an American was killed by Russian shelling there. Two American journalists, a filmmaker and a Fox News cameraperson, were also killed this week covering the war.”
“There’s going to have to be, one way or another, accountability for this war of aggression,” Blinken said about Putin.
Although Ukrainian officials have been in discussions with Russian counterparts, Blinken stated that they have not observed “any meaningful effort” by Russia to stop the war through diplomatic means. “If anything, he warned, Putin indicated in his remarks Wednesday that he is doubling down,” ABC noted.
In a video speech to Russians, per a translation, Putin said, “The collective West is attempting to splinter our society,” adding, “Speculating on military losses, on socio-economic effects of sanctions, in order to provoke a people’s rebellion in Russia.”
“But any people, the Russian people especially, are able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and traitors, and will ‘spit them out,’” he continued. “I am certain that this necessary and natural self-cleaning of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness, and our readiness to answer any calls to action.”
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a war criminal.”
A Kremlin spokesperson referenced Biden’s declaration, saying on Wednesday, per Russian state media, “We consider unacceptable and unforgivable such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
CNBC reported, “Psaki said on Wednesday that Biden was speaking from his heart about what he has seen on the news, which she described as ‘barbaric actions by a brutal dictator.’”
“She noted that there is a separate legal process underway at the State Department to determine whether Putin violated international law and committed war crimes,” the outlet added.
ABC News also noted, “Before the U.S. officially labels Putin’s actions as war crimes, Blinken said State Department experts from the Office of Global Criminal Justice are documenting and evaluating evidence for a formal determination and will share the findings with those responsible for accountability.”
After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a virtual speech to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday morning, Biden “announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine to $1 billion in just the past week, and a total of $2 billion since the start of the Biden Administration,” per The Daily Wire.
“The assistance will take the form of direct transfers of equipment from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military to help them defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion,” the White House stated.
“This could be a long and difficult battle, but the American people will be steadfast in our support for the people in Ukraine in the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations,” Biden said.