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US Accuses Russian Soldiers of Torturing American in Ukraine

Politics


December 7, 2023


Ainsley King


 


U.S. accuses Russian soldiers of war crimes for allegedly torturing Americans in Ukraine


 


Washington- The Justice Department said on Wednesday that four Russian soldiers had been charged by federal prosecutors in the United States with war crimes for allegedly kidnapping and torturing an American citizen in Ukraine immediately after Russia's incursion.


 


Three war crimes were brought against the soldiers—two commanding officers and two lower-ranking soldiers—for allegedly abusing an American resident in Ukraine. The two soldiers, Valerii and Nazar, are recognized simply by their first names, while the commanding commanders are designated as Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik.


 


According to the Justice Department, each defendant faces charges of wrongful detention, torture, and inhumane treatment in addition to one count of conspiracy to commit war crimes. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced at the Justice Department on Tuesday that the charges—made possible by a federal law from 1996 that made violations of the Geneva Conventions illegal—were presented in an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia. The men are not under American custody.


 


"These charges, against four Russia-affiliated military personnel, are the Justice Department's first criminal charges under the U.S. war crimes statute. They are also an important step toward accountability for the Russian regime's illegal war in Ukraine," Garland said. "Our work is far from done."


 


The unidentified victim was allegedly taken by Mkrtchyan and his soldiers in April 2022 from the hamlet of Mylove in the southern Ukrainian area of Kherson Oblast. The Justice Department claims that they assaulted him and placed him in an unlawful detention facility for ten days.


 


Some of the individuals, according to officials, either led or took part in the questioning sessions during which they tortured the victim, sometimes removing his clothes, taking his picture, and hitting him. 


 


Prosecutors stated in the nine-page indictment that the co-conspirators "threw [the victim] face down to the ground while he was naked, tied his hands behind his back, pointed a gun at his head, and beat him with their feet, their fists, and the stocks of their guns."


 


According to Garland, Budnik "threatened the victim with death and asked him for his last words" during one incredibly violent session. The victim was subsequently taken outside by Nazar and others.


 


Some of the individuals, according to officials, either led or took part in the questioning sessions during which they tortured the victim, sometimes removing his clothes, taking his picture, and hitting him. Prosecutors stated in the nine-page indictment that the co-conspirators "threw [the victim] face down to the ground while he was naked, tied his hands behind his back, pointed a gun at his head, and beat him with their feet, their fists, and the stocks of their guns."


 


According to Garland, Budnik "threatened the victim with death and asked him for his last words" during one incredibly violent session. The victim was subsequently taken outside by Nazar and others.


 


According to the charging documents, the unidentified victim had neither fought nor taken part in the war and had been residing in Ukraine since 2021.


 


Garland and other Justice Department representatives visited the war-torn country several times before filing the allegations against the four Russian service members. The Justice Department has established a War Crimes Accountability team to look into possible war crimes in Ukraine that might be prosecuted in the United States as part of its assistance in the investigation of alleged war crimes by Russia. Additionally, U.S. investigators are helping the Ukrainians collect and record proof of Russian atrocities.


 


Garland expressed his expectation that the United States would file additional charges in the future and praised the efforts of Ukraine's law enforcement in the investigation leading to the most recent allegations. 


 


Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas of Homeland Security and Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, who oversaw the investigation's year-long course, both gave speeches on Wednesday. Mayorkas disclosed that in August 2022, after the victim had been evacuated following his trauma, federal investigators went to Europe to speak with him.


 


"The evidence gathered by our agents speaks to the brutality, criminality, and depravity" of Russia, he said.


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