Attorney General Merrick Garland is traveling to Ukraine to discuss war crime prosecution with Ukraine’s prosecutor general.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The United States attorney general, Merrick Garland, is making an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Tuesday to discuss the prosecution of Russians for war crimes, according to his spokesman.
Mr. Garland plans to meet with Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, “to discuss U.S. and international efforts to help Ukraine identify, apprehend and prosecute those individuals involved in war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine,” the spokesman, Anthony D. Coley, said in an email.
The meeting is expected to last about an hour, and the two are expected to discuss technical, forensic and legal support that Mr. Garland’s department might be able to provide prosecutors in Ukraine, department officials said.
The two prosecutors last met in May in Washington. Mr. Garland’s trip on Tuesday was part of a previously scheduled trip to Paris and Warsaw.
Earlier this year, Mr. Garland and the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said they were working with investigators and prosecutors in Ukraine, a signal that the Biden administration intended to follow through on its public condemnation of atrocities committed by Russian forces that have been documented during the war.
“The world sees what is happening in Ukraine — the Justice Department sees what is happening in Ukraine,” Mr. Garland, who helped prosecute the plotters of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, said in April.
Senior prosecutors with the Justice Department have been conferring with their Ukrainian counterparts, European Union officials and European law enforcement agencies to gather and analyze evidence of war crimes, Mr. Garland said at the time.
His team has also been working with the State Department to provide logistical support and advice to Ms. Venediktova and her prosecutors.
“We’ve seen and have determined that a number of war crimes have been committed by Russia’s forces,” Beth Van Schaack, the State Department’s ambassador at large for global criminal justice, said at a briefing in Washington last week.
“What we are seeing is not the results of a rogue unit,” she added, “but rather a pattern and practice across all the areas in which Russia’s forces are engaged.”