US Attorney General Merrick Garland made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Friday and vowed to hold "Russian war criminals accountable" for their actions.

"We are here today in Ukraine to speak clearly, and with one voice: the perpetrators of those crimes will not get away with them," Garland said. 

He went to Lviv in western Ukraine at the invitation of his Ukrainian counterpart to take part in the "United for Justice Conference."

Garland told the conference the United States stood beside Ukraine's war crimes investigators as they collect and catalogue evidence from blast sites that include hospitals, apartment buildings and schools, exhume mass graves and study human remains -- "in order to tell the stories of those who no longer can," according to a Justice Department transcript of his remarks.


Since the invasion began a year ago, Russia has been committing atrocities on the largest scale of any conflict since World War II, he said.

The United States has signed an agreement with Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Romania "that will strengthen our efforts to hold Russian war criminals accountable," he said.

The visit, Garland's second to Ukraine since the start of the conflict in February 2022, was not announced ahead of time for security reasons.

It came nearly two weeks after US President Joe Biden paid a visit to Ukraine and met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The United States is helping Ukraine investigate war crimes and Garland this week branded Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia's mercenary Wagner military force, a war criminal.

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Should Western Support for Ukraine Be Increased or Reduced?

Kyiv Post took to the streets of Kyiv and Washington DC and found that most passerby supported further aid to Ukraine for a variety of reasons.

In a statement issued on February 24 to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, Garland said his department is "standing with our Ukrainian partners in pursuit of justice."

US Vice President Kamala Harris accused Russia last month of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine, saying Moscow's forces had conducted "widespread and systemic" attacks on the country's civilian population.

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Commendable indeed, but the problem is will Garland still be in his job if the GOP gets back into power come 2024. Worse still, Trump holds the reins once more. If that happens all bets are off and Ukraine can probably kiss goodbye to further US support.

The EU and especially the Netherlands (my country incidentally) will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes so the supply of weaponry at least won't dry up. Financial support though might be a different matter and will depend on decisions by the IMF and other financial institutions.

On the subject of bringing the perpetrators to justice, Russian nationals Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy and a Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko have already been sentenced to life imprisonment by the ICC for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 using a BUK missile, but hopes of ever bringing them to The Hague to serve their sentences are pretty slim. The same applies to Putin and his cronies.