The United States has brought charges against soldiers associated with Russia for committing acts of war crimes.
Four soldiers who have ties to Russia are being accused by the United States of committing war crimes. The soldiers are being charged with mistreating a U.S. citizen in a brutal manner, according to American prosecutors. This alleged abuse occurred after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.
The charges – the first ever filed by the U.S. under its nearly 30-year-old war crimes statute – include conspiracy to commit war crimes, unlawful confinement, torture, and inhumane treatment, following the takeover of the village of Mylove, in the Kherson oblast of southern Ukraine in April 2022.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated on Wednesday that just as the world has seen the atrocities of Russia’s aggressive attack on Ukraine, so has the Department of Justice of the United States.
“The Department of Justice and the citizens of America have a strong recollection,” he stated. “We will not overlook the heinous acts in Ukraine and we will continuously strive to hold those accountable for their actions.”
Based on the nine-page legal document, the accused individuals are identified as Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik, who are said to hold leadership positions in either the Russian Armed Forces or the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The indictment also includes two soldiers referred to as Valerii and Nazar, who are only identified by their first names.
On Wednesday, Garland and other U.S. officials reported that a man, who was living with his Ukrainian wife in Mylove, was kidnapped from his home by four Russians. The man was not involved in any fighting.
According to reports, the individual was reportedly disrobed, restrained with his hands behind his back, threatened at gunpoint, and physically assaulted. He was then transported to a makeshift Russian military base.
According to the indictment, the victim was brought to a makeshift prison where he underwent numerous interrogations and experiences deliberately meant to cause severe physical and psychological harm.
Furthermore, the charges state that a Russian soldier committed sexual assault against the victim, and that the Russian soldiers conducted a simulated execution.
“Garland reported that the gun was relocated before being fired, causing the bullet to narrowly miss his head. Following the staged execution, the victim was physically assaulted and subjected to further questioning.”
The individual was compelled to do physical work, such as digging ditches for Russian troops, until they were ultimately released after being held for slightly more than a week.
American authorities stated that the allegations against the four soldiers linked to Russia are a result of an inquiry initiated in August 2022. This inquiry involved representatives from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security meeting with the victim, who had been rescued from Ukraine.
According to reports, evidence was gathered in cooperation with authorities from Ukraine.
According to Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, investigators held meetings with the victim’s family and several witnesses who verified that Russian forces were present in the village of Mylove and its vicinity at the time the reported war crimes occurred.
Mayorkas stated that we cannot ignore such terrible crimes and doing so will only increase the likelihood of them happening again.
According to the recent announcement, the US government will not hesitate to use all of its resources in seeking justice for any American citizen whose human rights have been violated. This statement was made by the speaker.
The Russian Embassy in Washington was reached out to by VOA for a statement regarding the accusations. Officials from the Embassy have not yet replied.
It is uncertain if any of the four soldiers associated with Russia will be brought to court for their actions.
Susana SáCouta, director of American University’s Washington College of Law’s War Crimes Research Office, described it as a “question worth a million dollars.”
According to SáCouta, the war crimes statute permits individuals to be arrested in the United States if they are found to have committed such crimes. However, this scenario is highly unlikely.
However, merely filing the charges will probably convey a message, according to her.
SáCouta stated that this is a clear indication of support for holding individuals accountable for war crimes, regardless of their nationality, in situations of conflict, specifically in relation to Ukraine.
American authorities, on the other hand, have stated that although the accusations of war crimes announced on Wednesday are the initial ones, they are expected to be followed by more in the future.
Garland informed journalists to anticipate further developments, but he was unable to provide specific information.