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Garland vows to help Ukraine prosecute war crimes during unannounced visit

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Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Tuesday where he met with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktov and affirmed his commitment to prosecuting war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion.

Driving the news: “I’m here to continue our discussions … about the actions the United States is taking to assist the Ukrainian authorities in holding accountable those responsible for the atrocities for the war crimes that the entire world has seen,” Garland said Tuesday, per a video from a Department of Justice official.

“The United States is sending an unmistakable message: There is no place to hide,” he continued. “We and our partners will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable.”

In unannounced trip, Attorney General Merrick Garland Visits Ukraine, Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Help Identify, Apprehend, and Prosecute Individuals Involved in War Crimes and Atrocities pic.twitter.com/GzHPGqOUYV

— Anthony Coley (@AnthonyColeyDOJ) June 21, 2022
“I’m here to express the unwavering support of the United States for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the unprovoked and unjust Russian invasion,” Garland also said.

The big picture: The U.S. in March accused Russian forces of committing war crimes in Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying: “We are committed to pursuing accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions.”

Go deeper… What counts as a war crime and why they’re so hard to prosecute