The United States is reportedly gathering evidence of multiple war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces following their invasion of Ukraine 12 days ago.
“We are collecting evidence of possible war crimes, human rights abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law. We support accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions where appropriate,” an official with the National Security Council told Reuters.
Russian forces have attacked civilian targets since the invasion began, as well as nuclear power facilities.
The United States will send the information it collects with its allies and partners to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, which has established a commission of inquiry to investigate possible human rights violations by Russia and hold them accountable, the official said.
In addition, the United States and 44 other countries have established an expert mission through the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe to investigate possible violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law by Russia, the official said.
“We will support accountability using every tool available, including criminal prosecutions where appropriate,” the National Security Council official noted.
On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. has begun an internal review “to collect evidence and data of the targeting of civilians, of the reported use of horrific weapons of war on the ground in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, last month President Joe Biden revealed he believes Putin’s larger objective is reconstituting the failed former Soviet Union.
“I’ve read most of everything he’s written,” Biden said. “He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about.”
According to Fox News, several foreign policy experts believe that Biden is correct.
“Putin currently has his hands full with a stronger-than-expected resistance to his war on Ukraine – including at home – though his massive military is expected to eventually prevail,” the outlet reported.
“Most believe, however, that it’s not a matter of if, but rather when and where, the Russian president begins pressuring, coercing or attacking other countries as he tries to reconstitute something akin to the Soviet Union,” the report noted further.
He may next move on the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are sandwiched between Russia and Russia’s ally, Belarus. Putin’s problem, however, is that all three are part of NATO, which should give him pause.
“The Baltics are vulnerable, but a direct Russian military strike against NATO countries seems unlikely for now,” Penn State professor emerita of political science Donna Bahry told Fox News Digital. “That doesn’t rule out Russian efforts such as cyberattacks and other covert actions. In fact, all three Baltic countries have experienced cyberattacks from Russia for some years.”
Former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler also told the network that a military attack is not very likely. But she said the Russian leader may chose to strike the Baltics with “non-kinetic actions” that would not only include cyberattacks but electronic warfare, “any kind of destabilization like covert ops” including fomenting protests.
“He is not gonna go with military operations or any kind of kinetic action against any NATO country such as the Baltics,” she said. “But as the conflict escalates, and especially if he’s on the losing side, I fully expect him to ratchet up non-kinetic actions.”