Speed Reads

Heinous Acts

Kamala Harris says Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine

Vice President Kamala Harris said Saturday that the United States has determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity during the war in Ukraine

Speaking during the ongoing Munich Security Conference, Harris said the U.S. had "examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: These are crimes against humanity." The vice president described some of the alleged crimes, saying that Russia had partaken in "a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population — gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation." 

Harris also said the U.S. had uncovered evidence of "execution-style killings, beatings, and electrocution" and that Russia had "forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people, from Ukraine to Russia, including children."

The Biden administration has long held that Russia has been committing war crimes during the ongoing conflict. However, as The Associated Press noted, the charge of crimes against humanity "goes a step further, indicating that attacks against civilians are being carried out in a widespread and systematic manner."

This sentiment was echoed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who released a statement saying he had concluded crimes against humanity were committed in Ukraine "based on a careful analysis of the law and available facts." 

Blinken similarly cited mass executions, tortures, beatings, and rapes by the Russian army. Both Harris and Blinken have urged the international community to hold Russia responsible, with the latter saying, "There can be no impunity for these crimes.  All those responsible must be held accountable."

President Biden is scheduled to visit Poland next week to mark the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Officials have said Biden will offer continued support to Ukraine, and he will likely similarly charge Russia with these crimes.