US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has claimed that the actions committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people constitute war crimes, marking the first time a senior US official has directly accused Moscow of war crimes since the invasion of Ukraine began.
“They constitute war crimes; there are attacks on civilians that cannot be justified by any — in any way whatsoever,” she said in an interview with BBC “Newshour” on Thursday March 10.
She is the first official in the Biden administration who has declared outright that Russia has committed war crimes, violations of international laws of armed conflict.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday referenced “atrocities” committed by the Russians and said that the UN should investigate the allegations of Russian war crimes.
Later on Thursday State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US has “seen very credible reports” of Russian actions that would constitute war crimes, echoing comments made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday.
Thomas-Greenfield said in the interview with the BBC that the question of whether Russia is guilty of war crimes is the one “we’re being asked every day, and we’re working with others in the international community to document the crimes that Russia is committing against the Ukrainian people.”
“I still see images of a women being rolled out of a hospital, pregnant, bleeding, people screaming, children crying. It is just unconscionable. And we call on Russia to change course. They have to end this conflict, and they have to stop the fighting, and they have to return to diplomacy. And we have made clear our strong support for Ukrainians’ call for this to stop,” she added.
Thomas-Greenfield said she couldn’t predict how the war crimes would be prosecuted, but “what is important is that we collect the evidence and have the evidence ready and available to be used.”
The ambassador also indicated that the US is supportive of the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, despite the US not being a member of the ICC and criticizing other ICC investigations.
“We’ve always been supportive of the Criminal Court taking actions when actions are required,” she said.