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The U.N. Human Rights council voted to open an inquiry into Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine on Thursday.
The HRC held a special session to address Ukraine’s allegations that Russian troops had committed atrocities against civilians during their withdrawal from areas surrounding Kyiv. The HRC voted 33-2 in favor of opening the inquiry, with 12 abstentions. China and Eritrea were the only nations to vote against the measure.
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War crime allegations arose after the Russian withdrawal from around Kyiv revealed that Bucha, a town in the area, saw Russian troops kill as many as 400 citizens and force others to dig mass graves.
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Russia was voted off the HRC in early April following reports of the atrocities. The Czech Republic now holds what was Moscow’s seat.
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The U.S., U.K. and other NATO allies have denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. President Joe Biden called for Putin to face a war crime trial in early April.
“This guy is brutal. What is happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone has seen it – I think it is a war crime,” Biden said, adding that the U.S. needs to “get all the detail, so this can be an actual war crime trial.”
Russia’s deputy ambassador Gennady Kuzmin dismissed the allegations against the Russian military at the time.
“What we’re seeing today is an attempt by the United States to maintain its dominant position and total control,” he said April 7. “We reject the untruthful allegations against us, based on staged events and widely circulated fakes.”