December 1, 2022

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Secretary Antony J. Blinken Before Departing at Joint Base Andrews

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Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Joint Base Andrews

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  As this Russian tide is receding from parts of Ukraine, the world is seeing the death and destruction left in its wake, and we’re seeing in particular the horror that’s been left behind in Bucha, something that is touching people literally around the world.

What we’ve seen in Bucha is not the random act of a rogue unit.  It’s a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities.  The reports are more than credible.  The evidence is there for the world to see.  This reinforces our determination and the determination of countries around the world to make sure that one way or another, one day or another, there is accountability for those who committed these acts, for those who ordered them.  There’s also a strong determination to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to support Ukraine in its brave fight to push the Russian aggression out of Ukraine, and of course, to sustain and increase the pressure on Russia to stop this aggression.

We’re heading off to Brussels now for a meeting of the NATO foreign ministers, for a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers, the leading democratic economies in the world, all of which will go to supporting the efforts that – accountability and support for Ukraine, increase pressure on Russia.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary —

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, when you talk about basically a deliberate campaign to kill civilians, does the U.S. have evidence linking senior Russian officials in Moscow to either ordering or knowledge of the acts being committed?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We’re working, as are others, to put the evidence together to support the efforts of the Ukrainian prosecutor general, to support the efforts of the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry that we helped establish, marshaling all of this, putting all of this together.

We said before the aggression that we anticipated that if it went forward, there would be atrocities committed.  Information that we’ve seen going into the aggression suggested that this would be part of the Russian campaign.  Horrifically, tragically, what we’re seeing in Bucha and in other places supports that.  But in all of these instances, there’s a very important effort to put the evidence together, to compile it, to document it, to support the different investigations that are going on.  That’s what we’re doing.  That’s what others are doing.  This will play out over time.

Meanwhile, what’s vital is to sustain and build on the support for Ukraine, to sustain and build on the pressure against Russia to bring this war to an end, to stop the death and destruction that Russia’s perpetrating in Ukraine.  Thank you.

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