Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking during a trip to Romania, unequivocally stated that intentional attacks against civilians are considered war crimes, referring to recent reports that Russian troops had attacked civilians and targeted residential areas in the ongoing war that erupted since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine.
“We have been clear that any intentional attack or targeting of civilians is a war crime. Period,” she said.
Harris also addressed the mounting humanitarian crisis affecting Europe now that roughly two million Ukrainians have had to flee their country.
“By the millions now are having to flee with nothing but a backpack and then you compound that with what happened a couple of days — in terms of the maternity hospital, pregnant women. We have the unfortunate experience, all of us right now who are not in Ukraine, of witnessing horror,” she said.
Harris reiterated points President Biden made during his recent State of the Union address, stressing that there is a collective price to pay for efforts to preserve democratic values, blaming the inflation that Americans are feeling at the gas pump on Putin’s invasion.
“We are committed in everything we are doing,” Harris said. “You got to stand with your friends and as everybody knows even in your personal life, being loyal to those friendships based on common principles and values, sometimes it’s difficult. Often it ain’t easy, but that’s what the friendship is about, based on shared values. So that’s what we’re doing.”
Yesterday, Harris said that Russia should “absolutely” be investigated for war crimes.
“Absolutely there should be an investigation,” Harris said during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. “I have no question the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of this aggression and these atrocities.”
Harris’s statement comes shortly after the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a war crimes investigation into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 39 countries had referred Russia’s case to the court.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.