45 nations agree to work together in war crimes investigations in Ukraine

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The United States, along with Britain, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and European Union states have signed on Thursday a political declaration to work together on investigations into war crimes in Ukraine, shortly after a Russian missile strike that killed civilians far from front lines.

The 45 countries have agreed to coordinate efforts to investigate and put on trial alleged perpetrators of atrocities since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, at a conference at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

They also pledged €20 million (US$20 million) to assist the ICC, as well as the prosecutor general’s office in Ukraine and United Nations support efforts.

With some 23,000 war crimes investigations now open and different countries heading teams, evidence needs to be credible and organised, officials said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the international conference that Russian missiles had struck two community centres in the west of Ukraine, killing 20 people, including three children, and wounding many more.

“Today in the morning, Russian missiles hit our city of Vinnytsia, an ordinary, peaceful city. Cruise missiles hit two community facilities, houses were destroyed, a medical centre was destroyed, cars and trams were (set) on fire,” Zelenskiy said by video link. “This is the act of Russian terror.”

The Russian defence ministry did not immediately comment on the reports from Vinnytsia.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians since it invaded Ukraine in February. It says it launched a “special military operation” to protect Russian speakers and root out dangerous nationalists. Ukraine says Moscow is waging an unprovoked war of conquest. (Source: CNA)

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