Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Harris said "In the case of Russia's actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: These are crimes against humanity."
"To all those who have perpetrated these crimes, and to their superiors who are complicit in those crimes, you will be held to account," the vice president added. "In the face of these indisputable facts, to all of us here in Munich, let us renew our commitment to accountability. Let us renew our commitment to the rule of law."
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was also at the conference, concurred with Harris, echoing her remarks in a Saturday statement from the State Department.
"Based on a careful analysis of the law and available facts, I have determined that members of Russia's forces and other Russian officials have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine," Blinken said, citing "execution-style killings of Ukrainian men, women, and children," and methods of illegal "torture" such as "beatings, electrocution, and mock executions" of civilians.
The secretary also accused Russian officials of other crimes including rape and the forced deportation of "hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians to Russia, including children who have been forcibly separated from their families."
"These acts are not random or spontaneous; they are part of the Kremlin's widespread and systematic attack against Ukraine's civilian population," Blinken asserted.
"We reserve crimes against humanity determinations for the most egregious crimes," he continued, adding that Harris' announcement underlines the "staggering extent of the human suffering inflicted by Moscow on the Ukrainian civilian population," as well as reflects "the deep commitment" of the US to "holding members of Russia's forces and other Russian officials accountable."
"As today's determination shows, the United States will pursue justice for the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes," Blinken's statement concluded.
On Friday, Vice President Harris met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss "Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine," the White House said in a press release.
According to the official statement, the two leaders "reviewed recent developments, and reaffirmed their enduring commitment to the people of Ukraine," as well as discussed "challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China, including the importance of upholding the rules-based order."
According to CNN, the official designation of "crimes against humanity" is the US's strongest accusation against Russia since they invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Last March, the US declared that members of Russia's military committed war crimes against Ukrainians. In April, President Joe Biden claimed that the Russians were committing "genocide."
Russia has denied targeting civilians or committing war crimes, reports NBC News.
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