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Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, Vice President Kamala Harris says

CBS News investigates alleged Russian war crimes
CBS News investigates alleged torture and war crimes by Russia in Ukraine 09:20

Vice President Kamala Harris announced Saturday that the United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine. 

"Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population—gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation. Execution-style killings, beating, and electrocution," Harris said, addressing attendees of the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.  

"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," she said.  

Harris vowed that Russia and its forces would be held to account and that the U.S. continued to support ongoing international investigations and judicial processes in Ukraine.  

Through the European Democratic Resilience Initiative (EDRI), the United States has provided $30 million to support documentation and prosecution of war crimes and other atrocities since March 2022, the U.S. State Department said in a fact sheet.

Congress will provide an additional $28 million to support efforts by Ukraine's domestic authorities and other international and foreign domestic courts to hold individuals accountable for war crimes, the state department said.

"No nation is safe in a world where one country can violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another," Harris said at the Munich conference.  

She called out North Korea and Iran for sending weapons and support to Russia and issued a warning to China, saying the U.S. was "troubled that Beijing has deepened its relationship with Moscow since the war began."  

"Looking ahead, any steps by China to provide lethal support to Russia would only reward aggression, continue the killing, and further undermine a rules-based order," Harris said.  

She said the United States remained committed to the Western alliance supporting Ukraine NATO's Article Five. "I have no doubt that this unity will endure." 

"I also have no illusions about the path forward," she continued. "There will be more dark days in Ukraine. The daily agony of the war will persist."  

"But if Putin thinks he can wait us out, he is badly mistaken," Harris said. "Time is not on his side."  

When asked, during a subsequent question-and-answer session, how U.S. elections could affect future support for Kyiv, Harris said the American people "take great pride in a fight for independence." 

"I think about where the United States is going on this issue based on the track record of where we've been," she said. 

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