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Senate passes resolution to condemn Russia's invasion, support war crimes probes

Senate passes resolution to condemn Russia's invasion, support war crimes probes
The U.S. Senate late Tuesday unanimously voted to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for waging war against Ukraine. File Photo by Evgeny Odinokov/EPA-EFE

March 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate late Tuesday unanimously passed legislation condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for invading Ukraine as well as calls for investigations into alleged crimes committed amid the ongoing war.

The bipartisan resolution, introduced early this month by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was passed by a voice vote to condemn the ongoing violence and "support any investigation into war crimes, crimes against humanity and systematic human rights abuses" levied by Putin and his military against Ukraine.

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It also encourages member states to petition the International Criminal Court and other tribunals to take steps toward investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia.

U.S. governments and its allies are also called on in the resolution to use their diplomatic powers in international institutions to hold Russia to account.

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Graham said he is "very excited" his colleagues unanimously agreed to support a war crimes investigations into Russia, including one currently being conducted by the ICC.

"The next step for me is to work with our British allies and hopefully others to create an intel cell that will make available to the public Russian military units engaged in war crimes and start naming their commanders," he said in a statement. "A name-and-shame campaign is in the making."

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The resolution was passed nearly three weeks after Russia launched its attack against Ukraine, attracting wide-spread condemnation from democratic nations, many of which have sought to isolate Russia and cripple its economy by targeting Moscow and its oligarchs with sanctions.

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With the petition of 41 nations, the ICC launched a war crimes investigation early this month that includes the ongoing war but also goes back to Feb. 21, 2013, when protests erupted against Ukraine's then-pro-Russian president over his government's rejection of an agreement to strengthen ties with the European Union to foster closer relations with Moscow.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said from the floor that with their vote on Tuesday the Senate joined together to say that Putin cannot escape accountability.

"Putin is not winning militarily, so now this evil man is trying to win by massacring civilians, massacring babies, parents, the elderly, pregnant woman, shooting at hospitals, sending missiles to hospital, apartment buildings, etc.," he said. "These atrocities deserve to be investigated for war crimes."

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Since Russia attacked Ukraine, the United Nations has tallied the deaths of 691 Ukrainian civilians with another 1,143 injured. The war has also resulted in more than 3 million to flee the country.

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Scenes from the rubble: Russian forces attack Ukraine capital, Kyiv

Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo

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