WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will consult allies to ensure Russia and President Vladimir Putin pay the price for war crimes being committed in Ukraine, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Sullivan said he had yet to see evidence that Russian atrocities had risen to the level of genocide. He said consultations might take place at the International Criminal Court or another venue.
The discovery of a mass grave and bodies shot at close range in Bucha, outside Kyiv, a town Ukrainian forces reclaimed from Russian troops, looked set to galvanize the United States and Europe into imposing additional sanctions against Moscow.
Sullivan said Russia’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council means any war crimes accountability could be blocked by Moscow there, he said.
Asked whether the killings in Bucha could be on Putin’s orders or by Russian forces acting alone, Sullivan said that even before the invasion Washington had warned that Russia was intending “as a matter of policy in this war to kill dissidents” and to “impose a reign of terror across occupied territories in Ukraine.”
“So, no we do not believe this is a random accident,” he said. “We believe this was part of the plan.”
The United States is seeking information from four sources to build a case for war crimes, he said: U.S. and allies’ information including from intelligence services, what Ukrainians themselves have observed on the ground, international organizations including the United Nations, and interviews from global independent media.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Leslie Adler and Howard Goller)