On 6 December, the US Justice Department charged four Russia-affiliated military personnel with war crimes for their involvement in torturing a US national during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. This landmark case marks the first time the US has brought war crimes charges against Russian soldiers.
“Suren Seiranovich Mkrtchyan, 45, Dmitry Budnik, Valerii LNU (last name unknown), and Nazar LNU were each charged in connection with their unlawful detainment of a US national in the context of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The defendants are alleged to have interrogated, severely beaten, and tortured the victim. They also allegedly threatened to kill the victim and conducted a mock execution,” the Justice Department press release reads.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated, “The Justice Department will work for as long as it takes to pursue accountability and justice for Russia’s war of aggression.” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas emphasized that these charges send a clear message to Russia that the US will spare no effort in holding accountable those who violate fundamental human rights.