US Permanent Representative to NATO Julianne Smith said Tuesday that the alliance is gathering evidence to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and his team accountable for “war crimes” in Ukraine.
“What we have to do is collect the information we need to hold Putin and his team in Moscow accountable, and you can do that through multiple paths there of course is the ICC path. There's a United Nations option. There are multiple ways to do that,” she said at a news conference in Brussels.
Answering a question about how United States will help with the investigation to the alleged war crimes committed by the Russian forces in Ukraine, Smith said, “First and foremost, what we want to do is ensure that we expose the truth and in order to expose the truth and fully understand what is happening on the ground we need to collect as much information as possible.”
“We are now relying on first-hand accounts from Ukrainian citizens. We are seeing some international organizations, NGOs are starting to collect information as well. Putting together a narrative, trying to put together some sense of what has gone on, as we've looked again at these horrific images coming out of Bucha, but, but possibly in other locations as well,” she added.
Smith cautioned that it is “too soon to say definitively what happened” in Bucha and other cities where alleged war crimes have been committed by Russia, but added that “we're quite confident that […] we will be able to put together the evidence we need to hold Putin accountable.”
She said that one of NATO’s strategies to take preventive actions in Ukraine has been to try to get out ahead of Putin’s “strategic choices."
“If you call them out on what we believe they might be planning maybe that alters, his calculus, a little bit," the ambassador added.