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HomeCrimeFour Russian soldiers are accused of torturing a US citizen in Ukraine...

Four Russian soldiers are accused of torturing a US citizen in Ukraine and committing war crimes.

 

Flickr: U.S. Institute of Peace

A U.S. national was allegedly unlawfully detained by Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan, 45; Dmitry Budnik; Valerii LNU (last name unknown); and Nazar LNU, according to the indictment, during the armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. The victim is said to have been subjected to interrogation, harsh beatings, and torture by the accused.

The Justice Department claims that they also performed a fictitious execution and threatened to kill the victim. Attorney General Merrick Garland described the charges as “an important step towards accountability for the illegal war in Ukraine” when he made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

According to US authorities, the US citizen had not engaged in combat or fought in the conflict and had been residing in Ukraine since 2021.In April 2022, he was detained for ten days and allegedly endured beatings and fake executions.

 

The US has never before brought charges under its war crimes statute.

“The victim was living in Mylove, a small village in southern Ukraine, and was not participating in the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” Garland said. “As such, the victim was what is known as a protected person under international law. After Russian forces invaded Mylove, the victim was abducted from his home by three of the defendants.”

“Torturing and unlawfully confining a protected person are serious human rights abuses that must not go unpunished,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “These historic criminal charges—the first ever brought under the U.S. war crimes statute—are an important step in the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to pursue every avenue of accountability for those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine.”

According to allegations in the indictment, Mkrtchyan and Budnik were commanding officers of military units of the Russian Armed Forces and/or the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, and Valerii and Nazar were lower-ranking military personnel. The defendants are alleged to have been fighting on behalf of Russia in Ukraine when they allegedly committed war crimes.

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