Ukraine charges 18 Russian officials, including defense minister, for ‘grave crimes’

KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Ukrainian prosecutors have filed criminal charges against nearly two dozen top Russian government officials, alleging “grave” offenses committed against the nation’s national security and citizens’ well-being.

During a news conference Monday, Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko accused Moscow of numerous charges as both sides continue the military and political tensions that have persisted for more than two years.

“”Based on evidence collected the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine on August 8 notified the individuals that they are suspected of committing serious crimes against the national security of Ukraine, endangering public safety, peace and breaking international laws,” Lutsenko said.

“Top elected officials and officers belonging to the Russian Federation Armed Forces are on the list,” he continued, “which includes a Russian presidential advisor, the former authorized representative of the Russian president in the so-called Crimean Federal District, the Russian Defense Minister and his two deputies, along with ten generals from the high command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”

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The charges are connected to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, which has been followed by serious conflict between the nations.

Lutsenko encouraged the charged officials to turn themselves in to testify in the case.

Officials said the Russian officials will soon be placed on an international wanted list, due to the purported violations of international law.

The Russian government did not immediately respond to the charges, which Ukraine officials said were levied against the accused officers earlier this month.



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