The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced first-of-its-kind war crimes charges against four Russian nationals accused of torturing an American.
The charges were announced at a press briefing Wednesday.
During the briefing, Attorney General Merrick Garland shared some details.
The victim was living in a village in southern Ukraine when the Russian military took him into captivity for ten days and brutalized him.
The accused are two Russian officers, Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik, and two enlisted men known only as Valerii and Nazar.
This marks the first time ever that the DOJ has filed federal charges for war crimes.
“We allege that as they interrogated him, they tortured him,” Garland said.
“They beat him, again, with a gun.
“They punched him in his chest and stomach.
“They threatened to shoot him.
“They stripped off his clothes and took pictures.
“One of their conspirators threatened to sexually assault him.”
AG Garland touted the charges as an “important step toward accountability for the Russian regime’s illegal war in Ukraine.”
“We will not forget the atrocities in Ukraine, and we will never stop working to bring those responsible to justice,” he continued.
Earlier this year, the International Criminal Court issued a largely symbolic arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Slay News reported.
Democrat President Joe Biden also labeled Putin a war criminal.
Just like Putin, it is not clear how these four Russian soldiers will be brought to the United States to face justice.
The charges could be seen as a face-saving maneuver by the Biden administration as it faces the possibility of having to negotiate with Russia to end the war in Ukraine.
After nearly two years of fighting, a sense of fatalism has begun to creep in as Ukraine continues to struggle to repel the Russian invasion.
Republicans in Congress rejected Biden’s pleas for more aid to Ukraine this week, a sign of how skepticism of U.S. involvement in the war is rising in Washington and among the general public.
Biden warned, “This cannot wait,” speaking with a sense of urgency that he has not shown towards the crisis at America’s southern border.
Biden and Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas have been under fire from Republicans for failing to secure the border.
In an ironic statement, Mayorkas said, “There is no higher responsibility of government than to safeguard its people” during Wednesday’s photo-op with Garland.