PaHanna Rabinovich, CNNWire

Friday, March 3, 2023, 7:47 p.m

Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Friday, according to a Justice Department official, his second trip to the country since Russia invaded just over a year ago.

The trip was not announced for security reasons, the official said.

NOTE: The video in the media player is taken from a previous report.

Garland was invited to Lviv by Ukraine’s attorney general, the official said, and joined President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United for Justice conference.

The official added that Garland “held several meetings and reaffirmed our determination to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed during its unjust and unprovoked invasion of its sovereign neighbor.”

The trip came nearly two weeks after President Joe Biden made his first trip to Ukraine since the start of the war, and was one of several trips by members of Biden’s cabinet. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also recently visited Ukraine to meet with Zelensky.

The Justice Department has taken several steps to prosecute the Russian government and its supporters since the invasion began.

Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he believes the Russian government is committing crimes against humanity and said the Justice Department supports The Hague’s efforts to investigate and prosecute those crimes.

“The United States supports what is currently being developed in The Hague with the support of Eurojust, considering the possibility of establishing this court. [to charge crimes of aggression,]“Garland testified.

“There are concerns that we have to take into account in terms of how this might deal with our own service members and other circumstances,” he continued. “We have to be sure that the appropriate fences are in place. But we support any number of different ways of investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and potential crimes of aggression.”

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