U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint news conference with the Lithuanian foreign minister in Vilnius, Lithuania March 7, 2022.
Olivier Douliery | Reuters
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains a graphic photo of soldiers removing human remains.
The United States is collecting evidence of possible war crimes by Russia during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a National Security Council spokesperson told NBC News on Monday.
The U.S. is also investigating possible human rights abuses and violations of international law by Russia, the spokesperson said.
The statement comes as Russia has been widely condemned for the attack on Ukraine, which has included shelling of civilian areas, and ledt to more than 1.5 million refugees fleeing the country.
“We are appalled by Russia’s brutal tactics and the rising number of innocent civilians who have been killed in Russian strikes, which have reportedly hit schools, hospitals, kindergartens, an orphanage, residential buildings, and those fleeing through humanitarian corridors,” the spokesperson told NBC News.
“We are collecting evidence of possible war crimes, human rights abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law,” they said. “We support accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions where appropriate.”
Earlier Monday, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe condemned Russian President Vladmir Putin for his “unprovoked war.”
“The brutality of this war is both revolting and heartbreaking,” said Ambassador Michael Carpenter.
“Children have been killed, grandparents driven from their homes, families forced to flee their country in the face of relentless strikes on civilian infrastructure,” Carpenter said.
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Police officers prepare to remove the bodies of passersby killed in yesterday’s airstrike that hit Kyiv’s main television tower in Kyiv on March 2, 2022.
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images
“The depravity of it all is mind-blowing.”
Carpenter cited Russia’s agreement on Saturday and Sunday to the opening of a humanitarian corridor out of the cities of Volnovakha and Mariupol, which it then bombed as civilians used it to begin fleeing.
“It is pure evil,” he said.
The ambassador also noted that on Monday, Russia proposed that Ukrainians flee the areas under Russian attack by going to Russia and Belarus, which are allies.
“This is the height of cynicism,” Carpenter said.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.
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