Zelensky tells legal officials that Russia must face court for war crimes

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with US Attorney General Merrick Garland and top European legal officials, and called for Russia to face international prosecution for war crimes.

Mr Zelensky announced the meetings in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, hundreds of miles from the war’s front lines, during his evening video address to the nation.

“We are doing everything to ensure that the International Criminal Court is successful in punishing Russian war criminals,” Mr Zelensky said.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland (J Scott Applewhite/AP)

“The accountability of Russia and its leadership is personal, for aggression and terror against our state and people.”

Mr Zelensky said more than 70,000 Russian war crimes have been recorded so far.

“But, unfortunately, we do not know about all crimes at the moment,” he added.

“A large part of our territory still remains occupied and we cannot currently reliably predict how many Russian crimes we would discover after the occupiers are expelled.”

Along with Mr Garland, other participants at the conference included UK Attorney General Victoria Prentis, Spanish Attorney General Alvaro Garcia Ortiz and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

Meanwhile at the United Nations, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said UN humanitarian staff are reporting “intensive hostilities” near the beleaguered Ukrainian town of Bakhmut and say the UN’s few humanitarian partners on the ground are focusing on evacuating the most vulnerable people from the conflict area.

Bakhmut has been the focus of intense fighting for months, with Russian troops including large forces from the private Wagner Group inching ever closer to the largely destroyed town.

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