June 26, 2022

Polish President Andrzej Duda shakes arms with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on the event of their assembly at Belwelder Palace, in Warsaw on March 10.Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Pictures

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday embraced requires a global battle crimes investigation of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, citing the “atrocities” of bombing civilians, together with a maternity hospital.

Talking alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda at a press convention in Warsaw, the place she is demonstrating U.S. assist for NATO’s japanese flank allies, Harris expressed outrage over the bombing Wednesday of the maternity hospital and scenes of bloodied pregnant girls being evacuated, in addition to different assaults on civilians. She stopped wanting straight accusing Russia of getting dedicated battle crimes.

“Completely there needs to be an investigation, and we should always all be watching,” mentioned Harris, noting that the United Nations has already began a course of to evaluate allegations. “I’ve no query the eyes of the world are on this battle and what Russia has finished when it comes to this aggression and these atrocities.”

Harris’ go to to Poland got here amid a kerfuffle between Warsaw and Washington over a Polish proposal to ship its Soviet-made fighter jets to a U.S. and NATO base in Germany so they might then go to Ukraine. Poland, in flip, would obtain American F-16s.

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Poland had publicly floated the proposal with out first consulting the U.S. Simply as Harris arrived in Warsaw late Wednesday, the Pentagon definitively rejected the concept, saying it will run the danger of escalating the Russia-Ukraine battle.

At Thursday’s information convention, each Harris and Duda sought to brush apart variations on the fighter jets difficulty.

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“I need to be very clear, the US and Poland are united in what we’ve finished and are ready to do to assist Ukraine and the folks of Ukraine, full cease,” she mentioned.

Duda for his half sidestepped questions on why Poland introduced its proposal with out first consulting the US. He harassed his authorities’s intention was pushed by a need for “NATO as an entire to make a standard determination” on the matter.

“In a nutshell we’ve to be a accountable member of the North Atlantic Alliance,” Duda mentioned.

Harris’ embrace for an investigation of battle crimes got here after the Biden administration on Wednesday warned that Russia may search to make use of chemical or organic weapons in Ukraine because the White Home rejected Russian claims of unlawful chemical weapons growth within the nation it has invaded.

The White Home raised the notion after Russian International Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova — with out proof — accused Ukraine of working chemical and organic weapons labs with U.S. assist.

The Worldwide Felony Courtroom prosecutor introduced final week he was launching an investigation that would goal senior officers believed chargeable for battle crimes, crimes towards humanity or genocide amid a rising civilian demise toll and widespread destruction of property throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However investigations on the ICC take a few years, and comparatively few convictions have ever been received. The ICC was arrange in 2002 to prosecute battle crimes, crimes towards humanity and genocide. The crime of aggression, which may’t be investigated in Ukraine as a result of neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the courtroom, was added later.

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White Home press secretary Jen Psaki referred to as the hospital bombing “horrific” and mentioned the U.S. goes via a “authorized evaluate course of” to find out whether or not to label the bombing a battle crime.

Duda mentioned “it’s apparent to us that in Ukraine Russians are committing battle crimes.” He added that in his view the invasion was “bearing the options of a genocide — it goals at eliminating and destroying a nation.”

Harris praised the Polish folks for his or her generosity for taking in almost 1.5 million refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine final month.

“I’ve been watching or studying in regards to the work of atypical folks doing extraordinary issues, and so I deliver you thanks from the American folks,” Harris mentioned earlier throughout a gathering with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hours after the U.S. Home handed an enormous spending invoice that features $13.6 billion in help for Ukraine and its European allies.

The laws consists of $6.8 billion to take care of refugees and different financial help to allies.

Harris additionally met Thursday with seven refugees who’ve fled from Ukraine to Poland because the Russian invasion started. She praised the refugees for his or her “braveness” and mentioned the dialog would assist inform U.S. help efforts. The group included a Ukrainian advocate for folks with disabilities, a Moroccan college pupil, an expert movie producer from Odessa, a Senegalese group chief and trainer, a LGBTQIA+ rights activist from Kyiv, and a Ukrainian vitality skilled and her younger grownup daughter.

“We’re right here to assist you, and you aren’t alone,” Harris advised the group. “And I do know there’s a lot in regards to the expertise that you just’ve had that has made you are feeling alone. You aren’t alone. We all over the world are watching.”

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The vice chairman additionally met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau whereas in Warsaw. The Canadian chief has been in Europe in current days assembly with allies about Ukraine. Trudeau credited the Biden administration for rallying Europe’s largely unified response.

“Vladimir Putin completely underestimated the energy and resolve of the Ukrainian folks,” Trudeau mentioned. “However he additionally underestimated the energy and resolve of democracies to face up in assist of Ukraine, (and) in assist of these values, and ideas that underlie every little thing we do.”

Harris’ whirlwind go to to Poland and Romania was billed by the White Home as an opportunity for the vice chairman to seek the advice of with two of the leaders from japanese flank NATO nations in regards to the rising humanitarian disaster brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Already, greater than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine — with greater than half coming to Poland — and much more anticipated to reach within the days forward.

Duda warned of a “refugee catastrophe” if Poland doesn’t obtain extra help to assist home and feed Ukrainians fleeing the battle. He mentioned he requested Harris for the U.S. to “pace up” the method for these Ukrainian refugees who would need to go to the U.S. and might need household there.

“The USA is totally ready to do what we are able to and what we should to assist Poland, when it comes to the burden that they’ve taken on,” Harris mentioned.

Harris will journey on Friday to Bucharest, the place she is going to meet Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

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