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The U.S. State Department blasted Moscow for bombing a school in Ukraine that has reportedly killed dozens of civilians inside.
“We know that in the conduct of this war, Russia’s forces have committed war crimes and carried out atrocities,” said State Department Spokesman Ned Price.
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“There are reports that dozens of individuals may still be under the rubble. To call this a defensive action is patently absurd,” he said.
“To call this anything other than a premeditated war of choice against the state of Ukraine, the government of Ukraine, the people of Ukraine is an affront to the historical record.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to cast Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies.
READ MORE: Could Russia be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine?
Speaking Monday at a military parade marking the World War II victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army’s fighting against the Nazi troops and the Russian forces’ action in Ukraine.
He said the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off what he described as “an absolutely unacceptable threat just next to our borders.”
At Monday’s press briefing at the State Department, Price spelled out additional sanctions against Russia that were announced over the weekend.
“We imposed visa restrictions on over 2600 Russian and Belarussian military officials who are believed to have been involved in actions that threaten or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine,” Price said.
“We also designated three state owned and controlled media outlets that are within Russia and have been among the largest recipients of foreign revenues, which feeds back to the Russian state,” he said.
“These television stations are key sources of disinformation used to bolster President Putin’s war.”
Price also commented on U.S. diplomats returning to Kyiv over the weekend after Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised on a recent visit to reopen the U.S. embassy in the Ukrainian capital.
“This is a temporary visit,” he said.
“So we are still assessing the security situation. As soon as we are confident in our ability to fully resume operations at our embassy, we’ll do that.”
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