Milley calls Russia’s attack on Ukrainian civilian sites a ‘war crime’
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday called Russia’s most recent attacks on Ukrainian civilian sites a “war crime.”
“Russia has deliberately struck civilian infrastructure with the purpose of harming civilians,” Milley told reporters following a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels.
“They have targeted the elderly, the women and the children of Ukraine. Indiscriminate and deliberate attacks on civilian targets is a war crime in the international rules of war,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sought to escalate Moscow’s attack on Ukraine through a barrage of air strikes that continued into Tuesday and hit more than a dozen cities, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than a hundred. The United Nations human rights office has described the attacks as “particularly shocking” and amounting to potential war crimes.
Putin said the strikes were in response to an explosion that destroyed a section of the Kerch Strait Bridge, which connects Russia to annexed Crimea and has become a symbol of Moscow’s hold on the region.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who spoke alongside Milley, said the newest Kremlin attacks “reveal the malice of Putin’s war of choice.”
He also called the strikes on civilians a “grim preview of a future in which the appetites of aggressive autocrats outweigh the rights of peaceful states.”
Austin added that Russian attacks have only worked to strengthen the resolve of allies and partners to help Ukraine and pledged to send weapons and air defense systems to the embattled nation “as fast as we can physically get them there.”
Austin and Milley were in Brussels as part of a meeting with more than 50 countries to discus how to continue to provide Ukraine with weapons and aid in its ongoing fight with Russia, now nearing its eighth month.
At the top of Ukraine’s wish list are Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), ammunition, artillery for howitzers and air defenses including more missiles.
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