Vice President Kamala Harris stressed that Russia must be held to account for its “barbaric” actions in Ukraine, telling a security conference in Munich on Saturday that the United States had formally determined that Moscow’s forces had committed crimes against humanity.
Ms. Harris was among a number of Western officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, projecting unwavering resolve in support for Ukraine at the annual Munich Security Conference just days ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The vice president noted how, a year earlier at the same conference, she had warned of the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the time, Ms. Harris said, many wondered how the West would respond and if Ukraine would be prepared.
“Today, a year later we know: Kyiv is still standing,” she said. “Russia is weakened, the trans-Atlantic alliance is stronger than ever.”
But her remarks emphasized the horrors that have occurred in Ukraine in the meantime, invoking images of atrocities carried out by Russian forces in places like Bucha and Mariupol.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine are an “assault on our common values,” Ms. Harris said, describing how Moscow’s forces have carried out “gruesome acts of murder,” torture, rape and deportation in a “widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population.”
The vice president referred to her experience as a prosecutor in saying that “we have examined the evidence and “there is no doubt” that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
“And I say to all those who have perpetrated these crimes and to their superiors who are complicit in these crimes, you will be held to account,” she said.
Ms. Harris spoke as Russia has been stepping up its offensive in eastern Ukraine, and the vice president acknowledged that Ukrainians and trans-Atlantic unity would continue to be tested.
“There will be more dark days in Ukraine,” she said, adding: “But if Putin thinks he can wait us out, he is badly mistaken. Time is not on his side.”