Kamala Harris calls for international war crimes probe of Russia’s bombing of civilians in Ukraine

‘Absolutely there should be an investigation,’ the vice president said in a press conference with Polish President Andzrej Duda in Poland

Kamala Harris calls for international war crimes probe of Russia’s attacks in Ukraine
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US vice president Kamala Harris has called for an international war crimes investigation into Russia’s bombing of civilians in Ukraine.

Ms Harris was speaking on a visit to Poland on Thursday when she said Russian president Vladimir Putin should be held to account for his military invasion of Ukraine and weeks-long assault on civilians.

Specifically, the vice president lambasted the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.

“When it comes to crimes and international violations of norms and rules, we are also very clear that any intentional attack on innocent civilians is a violation,” she said.

“Pregnant women going for health care? Being injured by, I don’t know, a missile or bomb? In an unprovoked, unjustified war? Where a powerful country is trying to take over another country, violate its sovereignty, its territorial integrity for the sake of what?,” she said. “Nothing that is justified or provoked? Absolutely there should be an investigation. And we should all be watching. And I have no question the eyes of the war are on this war.”

Her call for an investigation comes after a US National Security Council spokesperson said it was collecting evidence of war crimes and alleged human rights abuses following Russia’s invasion in an interview with NBC News on Monday.

That was thought to include shelling and bombardment of civilians in Ukraine’s biggest cities, some of which have been flattened after two weeks of assault by Mr Putin’s military. Death tolls for both sides meanwhile remain unclear.

Ms Harris also held a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and will meet with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday afternoon, with the Biden administration looking to show its support to Nato members and EU allies.

Poland, which has so far taken some one million refugees who have fled Ukraine, was rebuked by the White House on Wednesday after it said it offered to give Ukraine its fighter jets as part of a deal with Washington DC.

“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it. We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Tuesday.

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor for the international criminal court (ICC), said earlier this week that work would begin “as rapidly as possible” to look for possible crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.

The US was among 39 countries who referred Russia to the court, which is based in The Netherlands.

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