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Thank you, Director Wray.
The charges announced today — the first under the federal war crimes statute — are historic. The Department of Justice is holding accountable four Russia-affiliated military personnel who committed war crimes in the course of Russia’s unlawful full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As alleged in the indictment, the defendants abducted, beat, and threatened to kill an American national. They even conducted a mock execution.
These charges send a clear message: the Criminal Division will pursue those who commit war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine. We are committed to bringing war criminals to justice — no matter where they are located — for brutal acts committed against Americans.
Last year, Attorney General Garland announced the launch of the War Crimes Accountability Team — led by prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section — to strengthen the department’s response to the atrocities being committed in Ukraine and to hold perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine accountable. These charges were brought as part of that critical mandate. Those who would act with impunity should think twice — when we identify perpetrators of war crimes and the evidence supports charges, the Criminal Division will take action.
This case is the result of the strong collaboration between our War Crimes Accountability Team, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and our key law enforcement partners: FBI and Homeland Security Investigations. Together, they have worked with great skill and tenacity to bring this historic criminal prosecution, emblematic of our collective resolve and commitment to holding perpetrators of war crimes accountable.
I would also like to express my immense gratitude to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine for their substantial assistance in this investigation, and for their continued resolve to uphold the rule of law even in the face of an active invasion and ongoing war.
And now it is my pleasure to turn it over to Jessica Aber, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who has been an outstanding partner.