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Four Russian soldiers charged with torturing American citizen in Ukraine by US Justice Department

Wednesday, 6 December 2023, 17:52
Four Russian soldiers charged with torturing American citizen in Ukraine by US Justice Department
Stock photo: Getty Images

In the first case of this kind, the US Department of Justice has charged four Russian soldiers with committing war crimes against an American who was living in Ukraine during Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Source: European Pravda with reference to a briefing by Merrick Garland, US Attorney General

Details: According to court documents made public in the federal court of the state of Virginia, the four Russian soldiers abducted the American from his home in the Ukrainian village of Mylove in Kherson Oblast in April 2022. They beat him and tortured him for 10 days.

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Among other things, he was stripped naked with his hands tied behind his back, punched, kicked, and beaten with rifle stocks. The Russians also took photos of him and threatened to rape him. Garland also revealed that the accused soldiers threatened many times to kill the US citizen and would fire their guns just near his head.

While in captivity, the American was tortured by the four accused and by other unnamed co-defendants. Garland states that the accused are two officers, Suren Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik, and two soldiers called Valerii and Nazar, whose surnames were not disclosed.

This is the first time the US government has applied the law to prosecute people who have committed war crimes against American citizens abroad. "These historic criminal charges....are an important step… to pursue every avenue of accountability for those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine," Garland added.

Background: The US is assisting Ukraine to investigate Russia’s war crimes, mainly by supporting the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA) that operates in The Hague, and also by cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Last month, the US Department of State added Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov of the Armed Forces of Russia, known as the "Butcher of Bucha", and Private Daniil Frolkin to the sanctions list for committing war crimes in Ukraine.

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