Boris On Ukraine Crisis: “Putin Has Already Committed War Crimes”

Boris Johnson described the Russian military's tactics under Putin's orders as "barbaric and indiscriminate" on Tuesday. "With every passing hour, the world is witnessing the horrors of Putin's war in Ukraine," said the SNP's Westminster leader Mr Blackford.

Boris On Ukraine Crisis: "Putin Has Already Committed War Crimes"

Boris Johnson has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine. During Prime Minister’s Questions, he stated that bombing civilians “already fully qualifies as a war crime.” He was responding to Ian Blackford of the Scottish National Party, who had called for Mr Putin to be prosecuted.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has already accused Russia of war crimes following airstrikes on Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. Attacks on key cities have intensified a week into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with fighting raging in the north, east, and south.

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Boris Johnson described the Russian military’s tactics under Putin’s orders as “barbaric and indiscriminate” on Tuesday. “With every passing hour, the world is witnessing the horrors of Putin’s war in Ukraine,” said the SNP’s Westminster leader Mr Blackford.

He called for Mr Putin to be prosecuted for the “full range” of war crime charges available. Mr Johnson replied: “What we have seen already from Vladimir Putin’s regime in the use of the munitions that they have already been dropping on innocent civilians, in my view, already fully qualifies as a war crime.

“I know that the ICC prosecutor is already investigating, and I am sure the whole House will support that.”

On Monday, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor’s office announced that it would seek court approval to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

When asked about Mr Johnson’s remarks following PMQs, Downing Street stated that possible war crimes were occurring daily in Ukraine. Mr Johnson’s official spokesman agreed that the Russian attack on the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as well as the targeting of apartment buildings, constituted war crimes.

Formally it will be for a criminal court to make that ruling but I think no one can be in any doubt that what we’re seeing daily, almost hourly now, are horrific acts that would certainly appear to be war crimes,” the spokesman said.

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Earlier, in a phone call, Mr Johnson and Mr Zelensky agreed that sanctions must be strengthened to put the most pressure on Russia.

The United Kingdom has joined forces with Western allies to impose broad sanctions on Russia, including sanctions against Russian banks, businesses, and individuals. According to a Downing Street spokeswoman, Mr Johnson told Mr Zelensky that the UK was rallying the United Nations General Assembly to ensure the “strongest possible condemnation” of Russia and its president at its meeting in New York later on Wednesday.

The general assembly is set to vote on a motion demanding that Russia end its invasion and withdraw all of its troops immediately. According to the prime minister’s official spokesman, Mr Johnson wants to see a message from the UN stating that the “world abhors” the violence in Ukraine.

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He also stated that Mr Johnson was speaking with several world leaders to ensure that countries speak with a “unified voice” to send a “direct message to Vladimir Putin.”

At the start of PMQs, MPs, many of whom were dressed in the Ukrainian flag’s yellow and blue, gave a standing ovation in support of the Ukrainian ambassador, who was watching from the public gallery.

The applause, which is not normally permitted in Parliament, lasted nearly a minute. Mr Johnson had opened the session by condemning Mr Putin’s “abhorrent assault on a sovereign nation”, adding the Russian leader had “gravely miscalculated” the Ukrainian people’s resolve to fight and the willingness of the “free world in standing up to his barbarism”.

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