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US Senate approves resolution probing Putin for war crimes

March 16, 2022 GMT
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., walks on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a resolution late Tuesday seeking investigations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for war crimes over the invasion of Ukraine.

The bipartisan measure from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says the Senate strongly condemns the “violence, war crimes. crimes against humanity” being carried out Russian military forces under Putin’s direction. It encourages international criminal courts to investigate Putin, his security council and military leaders for possible war crimes.

“These atrocities deserve to be investigated for war crimes,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The measure was approved swiftly and without dissent as lawmakers in Congress continue to muscle a bipartisan show of force against the Russian war in Ukraine. First introduced almost two weeks ago, the Senate resolution would not carry the force of law, but is another example of Congress providing the Biden administration political support to take a tough line against Putin’s aggression.

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Last week, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris embraced calls for an international war crimes investigation of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, citing the “atrocities” of bombing civilians, including a maternity hospital.

Speaking alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda at a press conference in Warsaw, Harris stopped short of directly accusing Russia of having committed war crimes.

“Absolutely there should be an investigation, and we should all be watching,” said Harris, noting that the United Nations has already started a process to review allegations.

The International Criminal Court had earlier announced it has launched an investigation that could target senior officials believed responsible for war crimes and other violations over the war in Ukraine.

The resolution approved by the Senate has been embraced by senators from both parties, Republicans and Democrats.

It says the Senate condemns Putin, the Russian Federation, the Russian Security Council, members of the Russian military and others of committing flagrant acts of aggression and other atrocities that rise to the level of war crimes.

The resolution calls for the U.S. and others to seek investigations of Putin and his regime at the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice for potential war crimes.