U.S. seeks Russia’s suspension from UN Human Rights Council over war crimes allegations


The U.S. will seek Russia’s suspension from the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to allegations that Russian forces committed war crimes in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday.

The big picture: Ukraine’s forces retook the Kyiv region and northern areas of the country over the weekend. Officials and independent photographers have reported bodies of civilians — some with their hands tied behind their backs — strewn in the streets of the city of Bucha.

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  • Satellite images show a 45-foot-long trench in the grounds of a church in Bucha, where a mass grave was found.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has labeled what happened in Bucha as «genocide,»‘ saying late Sunday that «it is time to do everything possible to make the war crimes of the Russian military the last manifestation of such evil on Earth.»

  • French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and others have also condemned the reported atrocities.

  • Russia’s defense ministry rejected the reports.

What they’re saying: «In close coordination with Ukraine, European countries and other partners at the UN, we are going to seek Russia’s suspension from the UN Human Rights Council,» ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said in Romania, where she is observing efforts to help refugees arriving from Ukraine.

  • «My message to those 140 countries who have courageously stood together is: the images out of Bucha and devastation across Ukraine require us to now match our words with action,” she said, referring to the more than 140 countries that voted in early March to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

  • «There will be accountability and justice for this brutality,» she said in a tweet Sunday.

The International Criminal Court last month launched an investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Ukraine.

Go deeper: What counts as a war crime and why they’re so hard to prosecute

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