The United States has formally accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine, according to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. This is a major escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
The move comes after months of escalating tensions between the two nations, and follows a series of new sanctions imposed by the US in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. In a statement released Thursday, the US State Department said it had determined Russia is responsible for a range of abuses against Ukrainians, including torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.
The statement comes as the Biden administration steps up its pressure on Russia for its continued aggression in Ukraine. In recent months, the US has imposed additional sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, frozen Russian government assets, and expelled Russian diplomats.
The statement also condemns Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it annexed in 2014. It also notes that Russia’s actions have resulted in the displacement of an estimated 3.7 million Ukrainians and the death of at least 13,000 people.
Secretary Blinken said: “The United States stands with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression and human rights abuses. We will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and hold Russia accountable for its actions.”
The US is not alone in its condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The European Union and many other countries have also expressed their support for Ukraine, and have imposed sanctions of their own.
The US statement is a strong indication of the Biden administration’s commitment to standing up for human rights and international law. It also sends a clear message to Russia that its actions will not be tolerated and that it must end its aggression in Ukraine.
For the people of Ukraine, the US statement may offer a glimmer of hope that their voices will finally be heard and their suffering will not be ignored.