The US government has concluded formally that the Russian military in Ukraine has perpetrated war crimes. This was stated by Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State on Wednesday. This declaration imparts official backing to an earlier expression of revulsion from top US officials on Russian military conduct.
Even US President Joe Biden had declared President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia a war criminal, a bit of an overkill, considering recent American roles in Iraq and Syria.
US Administration’s Statement Only Names Russian Military, Silent On Vladimir Putin
The statement from the US administration has chosen to remain silent on Mr. Putin’s involvement, mentioning that only the Russian military had carried out such crimes. In a press briefing on Wednesday, officials of the State Department were silent on the issue of the involvement of Mr. Putin and if he might be implicated later.
Pinning Vladimir Putin on war crime charges in an international forum such as the ICC, which is looking into the charges, will be difficult. It would require demonstrating intent on Mr. Putin’s part and could bring in counter allegation from many countries against the US.
It is worth noting the US opposed ratification of the ICC on the ground that it might one day have to surrender its citizens, particularly members of its armed forces or government.
This is relevant considering that they have been particularly active on foreign shores where they had little right to be in the first place.
Russia has outright rejected charges that it has targeted civilians though there has been a barrage of accusations from multiple sources. The pro-Russian media has been blocked over the internet that is largely in the hands of the Americans.
Blinken has stated that the American assessment of Russian military involvement was based on a careful review of intelligence sources and information available on public platforms.
The Americans further stated that an international court with proper jurisdiction would ultimately decide on the degree of criminal guilt involving the Russian military in specific cases.
The cited ‘atrocities’ included an attack on the Mariupol maternity hospital and another on a theatre that housed hundreds of sheltering civilians.