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Press Release

U.S. Attorney General and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Met to Strengthen Joint Efforts to Hold Accountable Perpetrators of War Crimes and Other Atrocities Committed in Ukraine

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin met today in Washington to discuss efforts to hold accountable individuals responsible for war crimes and other atrocities in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine. The leaders outlined areas for enhanced collaboration and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will facilitate appropriate cooperation, coordination, and deconfliction between each country’s respective investigations and prosecutions.

“The United States stands by the people of Ukraine in their tireless pursuit to uphold the rule of law and seek justice for victims in the face of Russia’s continued aggression,” said U.S. Attorney General Garland. “Today, the Department of Justice and the Prosecutor General’s Office announced our decision to work more closely together to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals involved in war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine. We will be relentless in these efforts to hold perpetrators accountable.” 

“The MOU we signed today allows us to step up our common efforts in ensuring accountability for international crimes,” said Ukraine Prosecutor General Kostin. “Through establishing a formal framework of cooperation, we will strengthen effective investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine and provide a measure of justice to victims.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Ukranian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin signing a memorandum of understanding.

The U.S.-Ukraine MOU will promote efficiency in investigations and prosecutions by, consistent with national laws, removing barriers to timely and effective exchanges of information and evidence in investigations and prosecutions by the two countries, and increasing the ease with which technical cooperation may be provided. 

The MOU builds on prior efforts by the department following the Attorney General’s trip to Ukraine on June 21, 2022. During that trip, Attorney General Garland announced the launch of a War Crimes Accountability Team to centralize and strengthen the Justice Department’s ongoing work to hold accountable those who have committed war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. The team brings together the department’s leading experts in investigations involving human rights abuses, war crimes, and other atrocities; and provides wide-ranging technical assistance, including operational assistance and advice regarding criminal prosecutions, evidence collection, forensics, and relevant legal analysis. A central component of the team’s mission is to further on-going investigations of potential war crimes over which the United States possesses jurisdiction, such as the killing and wounding of U.S. journalists covering the unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The leaders also discussed the importance of continuing efforts to counter Russian illicit finance and sanctions evasion. In March, Attorney General Garland announced the establishment of Task Force KleptoCapture (TFKC) to further leverage the department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. Government in response to Russian military aggression. TFKC, an interagency law enforcement task force run out of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, is dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Since it was created, the task force has facilitated the seizure and forfeiture of assets, including superyachts and airplanes, of sanctioned individuals with close ties to the Russian regime; dismantled Russian criminal networks; and enforced sanctions violations, among other actions.

For more information on the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring accountability on behalf of the victims of war crimes, go to: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Visits Ukraine, Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Help Identify, Apprehend, and Prosecute Individuals Involved in War Crimes and Atrocities | OPA | Department of Justice

Updated September 20, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-994