Zelenskyy tells US and Europe law chiefs Russia must face court

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets US Attorney General Merrick Garland and top European legal officials

From left, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin, US Attorney General Merrick Garland and National Prosecutor of Poland Dariusz Barski meet in Ukraine. Reuters
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday met US Attorney General Merrick Garland and top EU legal officials, and called for Russia to face international prosecution for war crimes.

Mr Zelenskyy announced the meetings in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, hundreds of kilometres from the war’s front lines, during his evening video address to the nation.

“We are doing everything to ensure that the International Criminal Court is successful in punishing Russian war criminals,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

“The main issue of all these meetings and the Lviv conference is accountability.

“The accountability of Russia and its leadership is personal, for aggression and terror against our state and people.”

Mr Zelenskyy said more than 70,000 Russian war crimes have been recorded so far.

“But, unfortunately, we do not know about all crimes at the moment,” he added.

“A large part of our territory still remains occupied and we cannot currently reliably predict how many Russian crimes we would discover after the occupiers are expelled.”

Along with Mr Garland, other participants at the conference included UK Attorney General Victoria Prentis, Spanish Attorney General Alvaro Garcia Ortiz and EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

Meanwhile at the UN, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said humanitarian staff are reporting “intensive hostilities” near the beleaguered Ukrainian town of Bakhmut and say the world body's few partners on the ground are focusing on evacuating the most vulnerable people from the conflict area.

Bakhmut has been the focus of intense fighting for months, with Russian troops including large forces from the private Wagner Group inching ever closer to the largely destroyed town.

Updated: March 03, 2023, 10:10 PM