Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced trip to Ukraine

(CNN) Attorney General Merrick Garland did Unannounced trip to Ukraine Friday, according to a Justice Department official, was his second trip to the country since Russia invaded a year ago.

The official said the trip was unannounced for security reasons.

Garland was invited to Livy By the Ukrainian attorney general, the official said, and joined President Volodymyr Zelensky at the “United for Justice conference.”

Garland “held several meetings and reaffirmed our determination to hold Russia accountable for its unjust and unprovoked aggression against its sovereign neighbors,” the official added.

The trip comes two weeks after President Joe Biden made his first trip to Ukraine since the war began and was one of several by members of Biden’s cabinet. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also recently visited Ukraine and met with Zelensky.

The attorney general last visited Ukraine in June to seek U.S. assistance in finding and prosecuting war criminals. During that trip, Garland announced that he was appointing Eli Rosenbaum, America’s top “Nazi hunter,” to lead a Justice Department team to find and punish war criminals.

On Wednesday, Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believes the Russian government is committing crimes against humanity and that the Justice Department supports Hague’s efforts to investigate and prosecute those crimes.

“The US supports what is now being created in The Hague with funding from Eurojust, and is exploring the possibility of creating that court. [to charge crimes of aggression,]Garland testified.

“There are concerns that we have to take into account about how it handles our own service members and other situations,” he continued. “We have to be sure that there are appropriate security measures in place. But we support different ways of investigating war crimes, crimes against humanity and potential crimes against aggression.”

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The Justice Department has taken several steps to hold the Russian government and its supporters accountable since the invasion began.

The Justice Department’s task force KleptoCapture — made up of federal prosecutors, investigators and investigators — has worked for the past year to target the complex web of wealth surrounding Russian oligarchs and Kremlin insiders. Since the start of the war, the Justice Department has seized more than $500 million in boats, property and other assets from those who support the Russian government and have evaded U.S. sanctions.

The department has brought more than 30 indictments against alleged supporters of the Kremlin and the Russian military, the department said, some of which directly linked individuals to supporting the war in Ukraine.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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