Skip to content
US lawmakers visiting The Hague say Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is committing genocide in Ukraine. Their comments came a day before their scheduled meeting with the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The ICC in March issued an international arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges, accusing him of personal responsibility for child abductions in Ukraine. However, he has yet to charge him with other offenses committed by Russian forces since their invasion of Ukraine more than 18 months ago.

Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, told reporters during a visit to The Hague that Putin “tried to erase a culture, a people, and a religion, and that’s the definition of genocide”.

Another committee member, Ann Wagner, a Republican from Missouri, agreed, speaking of “crimes against humanity, the true genocide that this man has perpetrated.”

WATCH: Bucha Ukrainians reflect on the horrors and brutality suffered by Russian forces

Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, said Putin, even before the war, denied the existence of Ukraine as a country and a people.

“So I think he himself advocated for genocide and then his behavior filled the void,” Connolly said.

Their comments on Wednesday come as the Russian shelling of a market in eastern Ukraine killed at least 16 people and injured scores more. The attack was launched as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting Kyiv and expected to announce new US funding of more than $1 billion.

Committee members will meet ICC prosecutor Karim Khan on Thursday and visit the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, or Eurojust, which hosts the International Center for the Prosecution of the Crimes of Aggression. against Ukraine. The center aims to help countries already build cases against senior Russian leaders for the crime of aggression. The International Criminal Court can prosecute crimes, including genocide, but does not have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.

McCaul said committee members would look at “the evidence itself and how we can help The Hague gather more evidence and intelligence to prove the charges against Putin.”

WATCH: Zelensky accuses Russia of war crimes in Bucha at UN Security Council meeting

The United States is not a member of the ICC, and under the administration of former President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on a former ICC prosecutor and several aides for investigating crimes of alleged war crimes committed by US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and by Israeli military personnel. in the West Bank and Gaza.

But since the start of the war in Ukraine, relations have changed. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the US Department of Justice was cooperating with the court and supporting Ukrainian prosecutors in their war crimes investigations.

Although the warrant for Putin’s arrest carries significant moral weight, he is unlikely to appear in a court in The Hague in the near future, as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and does not extradite him. not its nationals.

The visiting congressional delegation also includes Gregory Meeks, DN.Y. ; Madeleine Dean, D-Pa. ; Thomas Kean, RN.J. ; and Bill Huizenga, R-Mich. They also organize meetings in the Netherlands with, among others, Dutch government officials and parliamentarians.

The delegation’s visit to Europe aims to strengthen ties with US strategic allies, as well as discuss support for NATO and Ukraine, ways to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine and how to deal with China’s common threats.

USA News Gb2