Durbin, Graham, Shaheen, Portman Meet with Ukranian Prosecutor General

The Senators received an update on reports of war crimes committed by Russians

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, hosted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin to receive an update on Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and specifically on reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russians. Durbin was also joined by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). 

“Perpetrators committing unspeakable war crimes, such as those unfolding before our very eyes in Ukraine, must be held to account,” said Durbin. “Today’s meeting was deeply upsetting when discussing the atrocities committed by Vladimir Putin, but as I mentioned to Prosecutor General Kostin,  we remain steadfast in our commitment to Ukraine and the brave Ukrainian people. In Congress, we will keep pushing to pass critical legislation to ensure Putin pays the price. The world cannot tolerate this barbarity.”

“The United States stands with Ukraine and its efforts to hold Russia accountable for its heinous war crimes against the Ukrainian people. I enjoyed speaking with Prosecutor General Kostin today about ways that the United States can aid Ukraine in its efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of war crimes conducted by Russian soldiers in Ukraine,” said Portman. “I strongly encourage my colleagues to approve more funding for Ukraine. This will help Ukrainian prosecutors investigate more war crimes cases and secure justice for innocent victims, and it will help Ukrainian soldiers liberate their fellow citizens from future Russian atrocities.”

“There can be no equivocation: Vladimir Putin’s intentional shelling of schools, train stations, maternity hospitals and other heinous attacks targeting civilians must be met with the fiercest condemnation and action from the global community,” said Shaheen. “His war is to not only build a Russian empire, but to erase Ukrainian history, culture and identity. In our meeting today, I made clear to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin that the U.S. stands firmly by Ukraine, not only as they defend their sovereign rights, but to fully investigate and hold accountable those culpable in crimes against humanity.”

“We had a great meeting with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” said Graham. “In a bipartisan fashion, we reinforced our commitment to the Prosecutor General to provide resources and help document war crimes committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people. Accountability in this war is the best way to deter future conflicts. We stand firmly for justice in Ukraine.”

Photos of the meeting are available here.

In May, Durbin and Graham, along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN), introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act, legislation that updates the current war crimes statute to enable prosecution of foreign war criminals in the United States regardless of the location or targets of their atrocities. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for war crimes discovered years after they occur.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new campaign that would call for a partial mobilization of more Russian reservists and made a veil threat of using nuclear weapons.