Zelenskyy: Russia will be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia will be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine.

“All Russian murderers will get fair sentences. One hundred percent. We will ensure it. We will find formats, we will find tools,” Zelenskyy said in a late-evening video address to Ukrainian citizens on Friday.

The comment followed the one-year anniversary of Russia’s withdrawal from Bucha – the town now synonymous with war crimes allegations.

“We must do everything to make Bucha a symbol of justice. We want every Russian murderer, executioner, terrorist to be held responsible for every crime,” Zelenskyy said at a Kyiv summit on the Bucha crimes.

Commemoration ceremony at Bucha

Earlier the Ukrainian president visited Bucha with leaders of Croatia, Moldova, Slovakia and Slovenia for a commemoration ceremony.

The Ukrainian leader expressed his gratitude to the foreign leaders who visited Ukraine to honour the memory of all those who died in Bucha under Russian aggression.

“What happened in Bucha, the Russian army does it wherever it goes,” Zelenskyy said in Kyiv.

He said the Bucha tragedy exemplified the “systemic genocidal violence, which is the essence of Russian actions in all Ukrainian occupied territories.”

Ukraine estimates that around 1,400 civilians died around Bucha, and 637 in the town itself.

Ukraine will use its national judicial system to hold accountable “the majority of Russian murderers and terrorists,” Zelenskyy said.

It will also rely on the International Criminal Court “which is able to prosecute Russian war criminals of various levels within its jurisdiction”.

Kyiv is also working on the establishment of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression.

International support

In a video message on Friday evening, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States “will continue pushing for accountability and for justice for as long as it takes.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday accused Moscow of having “allowed, even encouraged” war crimes in Ukraine.

“Russian aggression has led to systematic war crimes against Ukraine and its population,” he said in a video message played at the Kyiv meeting.

“And far from sanctioning these crimes which go against all the laws of war, Russia’s leaders allowed them to happen, even encouraged them, in defiance of international law and with the clear objective of subjugating the Ukrainian nation through violence,” he said.


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