US charges Russian Forces of Committing War Crimes in Ukraine Against an American

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US charges Russian Forces of Committing War Crimes

Four Russian fighters are accused by the Justice Department of committing war crimes against a citizen of the United States. 

With an indictment returned to the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that the Justice Department has filed the first-ever allegations under the U.S. war crimes law against four Russia-affiliated military personnel for horrific acts against an American citizen. The accusations include inhumane treatment, torture, and wrongful detention in addition to conspiracy to commit war crimes, including those declared illegal by the international community following World War Two. 

A U.S. national was allegedly unlawfully detained by Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan, 45; Dmitry Budnik; Valerii LNU (last name unknown); and Nazar LNU, according to the indictment, during the armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. The victim is said to have been subjected to interrogation, harsh beatings, and torture by the accused. 

The Justice Department claims that they also performed a fictitious execution and threatened to kill the victim. 

Although this is the first time the DOJ has charged someone under the war crimes legislation, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted that the agency had previously looked into war crimes and prosecuted those responsible.

Wray stated during the news conference on Wednesday that the human toll of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine weighs heavily on the minds of the FBI, and we’re resolved to hold war criminals responsible no matter where they’re located or how long it takes.

The American was forcibly seized by Russian forces from his house in the Ukrainian village of Mylove, according to the accusation. In April 2022, the American was detained for ten days in a Russian military compound, where he was allegedly beaten and tortured by the soldiers.

US charges Russian Forces of Committing War Crimes in Ukraine Against an American
The American was forcibly seized by Russian forces from his house in the Ukrainian village of Mylove

The American was reportedly taken hostage by Russian soldiers, who then allegedly stripped him naked, bound his hands behind his back, and beat him with their fists, feet, and pistol stocks.

The American was allegedly subjected to at least two interrogation sessions of torture by the four defendants and additional unidentified co-defendants while he was being kept illegally by the Russian forces. The indictment claims that they took pictures of him, stripped him naked, and gave him a brutal beating.

According to the indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday, two of the defendants who were charged with war crimes against an American in Ukraine were commanding commanders of the Russian Armed Forces, and the other two were lower-ranking soldiers.

According to the accusation, the American was covered by the 1949 Geneva Convention and was not engaged in combat during the war. The indictment contained no mention of the Americans.

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that the American told US Department of Homeland Security investigators about the torture he had suffered after being evacuated from Ukraine in the summer of 2022, where he had lived with his wife.

Federal authorities traveled internationally to interview the victim’s family, according to Mayorkas.

Russian Soldiers Threatened to Kill the Americans

According to Mayorkas, they located and spoke with people who were in the general region of Mylove when the victim was being held captive, and they obtained confirmation of the Russian forces’ possession of the area. The four defendants whose indictments were announced today were identified by the HSI agents and their FBI counterparts using the information they were able to gather.

Russian soldiers are said to have threatened to kill the American during his imprisonment, occasionally putting knives to his throat and guns to his head. According to the accusation, Russian forces allegedly subjected the American to a “mock execution,” which involved pushing him to the ground, placing a gun to the back of his head, and then firing a bullet barely past his skull.

According to the indictment, the American was also threatened with sexual assault. Additionally, some Russian soldiers threatened to kill him and asked for his final words after the American’s responses did not satisfy them. The indictment further claims that the American was compelled to work as a trench digger for the Russian military.

Regarding the American who was allegedly subjected to torture by Russian soldiers, Garland stated that he often thought he was going to die.

According to Garland, Ukrainian prosecutors and investigators have put their lives in danger to provide justice to the Ukrainian people during the conflict. The United States and our allies will be prepared to hold Russia accountable when the time comes.

The attorney general stated on Wednesday that more possible war crimes by the Russian military are still being looked at by his department.

He spoke about the recently revealed case, saying, “This is our first, and you should expect more.”

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