Zelensky tells US and Europe law chiefs that Russia must face prosecution for war crimes

The president of Ukraine met with US Attorney General Merrick Garland. ‘The main issue of all these meetings and the Lviv conference is accountability,’ he said

Ukrainian servicemen attend combat training in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Friday, March 3, 2023.
Ukrainian servicemen attend combat training in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Friday, March 3, 2023.Efrem Lukatsky (AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met Friday with US Attorney General Merrick Garland and top European legal officials, and called for Russia to face international prosecution for war crimes.

Zelensky announced the meetings in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, hundreds of kilometers from the war’s front lines, during his evening video address to the nation. “We are doing everything to ensure that the International Criminal Court is successful in punishing Russian war criminals,” Zelensky said.

“The main issue of all these meetings and the Lviv conference is accountability,” he added. “The accountability of Russia and its leadership is personal, for aggression and terror against our state and people.”

Zelensky said over 70,000 Russian war crimes have been recorded so far.

“But, unfortunately, we do not know about all crimes at the moment,” he added. “A large part of our territory still remains occupied, and we cannot currently reliably predict how many Russian crimes we would discover after the occupiers are expelled.”

Along with Garland, other participants at the conference included UK Attorney General Victoria Prentis, Spanish Attorney General Alvaro Garcia Ortiz and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said UN humanitarian staff are reporting “intensive hostilities” near the beleaguered Ukrainian town of Bakhmut and say the UN’s few humanitarian partners on the ground are focusing on evacuating the most vulnerable people from the conflict area.

Bakhmut has been the focus of intense fighting for months, with Russian troops including large forces from the private Wagner Group inching ever closer to the largely destroyed town.

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