Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 70,000 Russian war crimes have been recorded over the past year since Russia’s full-scale invasion began last February.
Zelensky said on Friday during the United for Justice conference that officials still do not know about all the war crimes that have been committed during the conflict and they cannot predict how many will be discovered after Ukrainian forces liberate the territory Russia has taken. The conference was held in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and designed to focus on holding Russia accountable for the war crimes it has committed.
“However, it is clear how serious these crimes are. What the scale of the criminal manifestations of Russia’s aggression is,” the Ukrainian president said. “We remember everything.”
Zelensky referenced war crimes that occurred in Bucha, where bodies were burned and piled up and unarmed civilians were executed, in the village of Yahidne, where Russian soldiers turned the basement of a school into a “concentration camp,” and in the widespread raping of adults and children.
He noted that Ukrainians have found torture chambers and mass graves as Russian forces have fallen back. Investigators determined the Kremlin funded at least 20 torture chambers in the Kherson region after Ukrainian forces retook it, but more likely exist in the region and throughout the country.
“Mariupol and Volnovakha, Olenivka, and dozens of other places where Russia brought death and suffering have yet to reveal the full truth to the world about the atrocities of the occupiers in Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
He said the world has a moral and legal responsibility to the “victims of Russian terror,” and any other country that might be threatened by Russian aggression must hold Russia accountable for their own security.
Attorney General Merrick Garland also attended the conference to reemphasize the U.S. commitment to holding Russia responsible for the actions and atrocities its soldiers have conducted during the war. He announced during a prior visit in June the creation of the Justice Department’s War Crimes Accountability Team to investigate and advance the department’s goal to prosecute those who have committed these crimes.
The United States officially determined last March, just a month into the war, that Russia had committed war crimes, and last month declared that the nation has committed crimes against humanity.