The United States has formally determined that Russia has committed "crimes against humanity" during its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday.
"In the case of Russia's actions in Ukraine we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: these are crimes against humanity," Harris, a former prosecutor, said while delivering a speech at the Munich Security Conference, according to a report by Reuters. She added, "And I say to all those who have perpetrated these crimes, and to their superiors who are complicit in those crimes, you will be held to account."
The conference has seen leaders from across the world come together to discuss pressing international security issues, including the year-long war in Ukraine. Harris also said that Russia was now a "weakened" country after Biden led a coalition to punish Putin for the invasion, but it continues to intensify assaults in Ukraine's east.
During her speech, she referred to the gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation - victims found in Bucha shortly after Russia's invasion last February; the March 9 bombing of a Mariupol maternity hospital, that killed three people, including a child; and the sexual assault of a four-year-old by a Russian soldier that was identified by the U.N. report and termed them as "barbaric and inhumane".
The Reuters report stated that the Biden administration has sought to bring alleged war criminals to justice, including training Ukrainian investigators, imposing sanctions, blocking visas and hiking penalties under U.S. war crimes laws. So far, Washington has spent $40 dollars on these efforts.
"Let us all agree: on behalf of all the victims, known and unknown, justice must be served," Harris said.
The war has caused widespread suffering, and the global economy is still feeling the consequences. The UN's humanitarian aid and refugee agencies said on Wednesday they are seeking USD 5.6 billion to help millions of people in Ukraine and countries that have taken in fleeing Ukrainians.