Russia, Ukraine and the Law of War: War Crimes, by Scott Ritter

If a country shields its weaponry behind civilians and civilian structures and the enemy attacks those civilians and structures, who has committed the war crime? From Scott Ritter at

Scott Ritter, in the second and final part of this series, lays out what the law says about war crimes and how it applies to the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden’s speech in Warsaw. (Office of the President)

Part One

During his recent four-day European tour, U.S. President Joe Biden made headlines when, during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, he described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a man who I quite frankly think is a war criminal,” adding “I think it will meet the legal definition of that as well.”

Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, condemned Biden’s comment as “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric on the part of the head of a state whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”

Biden made his remarks following a statement issued by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which Blinken announced that the State Department had made a formal assessment that the Russian military had committed war crimes in Ukraine. “Based on information currently available,” Blinken said, “the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. “Our assessment,” Blinken added, “is based on a careful review of available information from public and intelligence sources.”

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