Secretary Antony J. Blinken Virtual Remarks on Russia’s Accountability for the Crimes in Ukraine

MARCH 31, 2023

Hello, everyone.

President Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Kuleba, thank you for bringing together so many partners and friends of Ukraine for this important and solemn summit.

One year ago today, when Ukrainian forces liberated Bucha, they discovered a massacre. Hundreds of men, women, and children killed indiscriminately by Russian forces.

On one street alone, they found 40 bodies.

The entire world soon witnessed the evidence of those crimes, in searing photographs and videos.

Executed civilians, with hands tied behind their backs, a children’s summer camp converted into a torture chamber, mass graves.

And we heard the testimonies of survivors as well. People who had been raped by Russian soldiers.

A 14-year-old boy whose father was shot in front of him.

Families who were not allowed to bury their loved ones.

Each of these pieces of evidence documents the suffering of individual human lives. Families torn apart. Communities that will never be the same. And in the year since, evidence has continued to mount of similar atrocities committed by Russian forces across Ukraine.

These acts are part of a campaign of widespread and systematic violence against civilians.

A pattern of rape, torture, enforced disappearances, forced deportation of children, and execution.

Attacks on homes, schools, hospitals.

When I visited Irpin, I saw the ravaged apartment buildings.

In Kyiv, I heard from children who had been wounded in Russia’s relentless targeting of civilians.

Russian forces and officials have committed – and continue to commit – war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

And those who have committed these atrocities must be held accountable.

The United States supports Ukrainian and international efforts to document and investigate these atrocities.

Today, we join countries and organizations from around the world to continue demanding justice for Ukrainians and Ukraine.

We repeat that what happened in Bucha and in other cities — and what continues to happen in Ukraine – is unacceptable.

And we recommit ourselves to “the dignity and worth of the human person,” as affirmed in the United Nations Charter.

The United States will keep standing with Ukraine, as it protects its people and fights for its sovereignty, its territorial integrity, its democracy.

We will not forget the Ukrainians who have suffered and have been killed.

And we will continue pushing for accountability and for justice for as long as it takes.

Thank you.