The Biden administration formally determined Wednesday that Russian troops committed war crimes in Ukraine, according to a U.S Department of State press release.
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are attending an emergency summit with NATO leaders in Brussels, according to the Associated Press. The United States will work with other stakeholders — including allies and international organizations — to prosecute those who perpetrate war crimes, Blinken said.
The decision to officially categorize Russian troops’ actions as war crimes is based on credible reports showing Russian troops targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, Blinken said.
“Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded,” Blinken said in the release. “Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.”
Blinken specifically cited Russian attacks on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, including the bombing of a maternity hospital and a theater with the Russian word for “children” written on the building in letters large enough to read from the sky.
“Every day that Russia’s forces continue their brutal attacks, the number of innocent civilians killed and wounded, including women and children, climbs,” Blinken said in the release.