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US files first war crimes charges against Russians for allegedly torturing American in Ukraine

The U.S. national, who was not identified, was unlawfully confined for at least 10 days and tortured, prosecutors said. 

Published: December 6, 2023 10:32am

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the first charges ever brought under the U.S. war crimes statute against four Russia-affiliated military personnel for their alleged involvement in the torture of a U.S. national in Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February 2022.

Russian commanding officers Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan and Dmitry Budnik are charged alongside two of their subordinates in connection to the April 2022 kidnapping of a U.S. national from his home in the Kherson Oblast region of Southern Ukraine. Charges against the four men include torture, inhuman treatment and unlawful confinement of a U.S. national, prosecutors said

The U.S. national, who was not identified, was unlawfully confined for at least 10 days and tortured, prosecutors said. 

"Today’s indictment – the first ever under the U.S. war crimes statute – makes clear that the FBI will work with the full cooperation of international law enforcement to bring justice to the victims of these atrocities," FBI Director Christopher Wray said. "The human toll of the conflict in Ukraine weighs heavily on the hearts of the FBI, and we’re resolved to hold war criminals accountable no matter where they are or how long it takes."

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