Washington (AP)

The Biden administration on Wednesday issued a formal ruling that Russian troops had committed war crimes in Ukraine, and said it would work with others to prosecute the offenders, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.

“Today I can announce that based on the information currently available, the US government estimates that members of the Russian military have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement issued when he traveled to Brussels with President Joe Biden for an emergency. assistance. NATO summit.

The assessment was based on a “close review” of public and intelligence sources since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, he said.

The chief diplomat of America said the United States would share this information with allies, partners and international institutions tasked with investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“We have seen numerous credible reports of indiscriminate attacks and attacks deliberately directed against civilians, as well as other atrocities. Russian forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian transport, shopping malls and ambulances, killing or injuring thousands of innocent civilians, ”Blinken said.

He referred to attacks on civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol and elsewhere.

Neither Russia nor the United States recognizes the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which creates obvious difficulties in bringing to justice for war crimes committed in Ukraine.

The U.S. could still help the prosecution in a court that previously launched an investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine by helping gather evidence against Russian forces in Ukraine, using some of the vast opportunities they have deployed to track and monitor what is happening in the conflict.

The United States could also support and support the Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council.

War crimes experts have suggested that Russian forces and government officials may also be prosecuted in countries such as Spain and Germany, where legal codes recognize universal jurisdiction, or that the United States may be prosecuted.

Under U.S. law, an American citizen must be among the victims to be prosecuted under existing statutes.

On Wednesday, two Democratic MPs called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to launch an investigation into the war crimes in the deaths of two Americans in Ukraine, journalist Brent Reno and Jimmy Hill, who was killed in a bread queue.

“Both Mr. Reno and Mr. Hill were unarmed individuals who did not take an active part in the hostilities,” wrote representatives Ted Lee and Eric Swalwell, both from California.

The Ministry of Justice did not comment on the letter immediately.

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Associated Press writer Ben Fox contributed to this report.

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