Sec. Blinken says we cannot become 'numb' to Putin's war crimes, vows 'accountability'

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. cannot become “numb” to images of death and destruction in Ukraine, vowing “accountability” for war crimes. 

“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut,” Blinken said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. He was reacting to photos out of Bucha, Ukraine, near Kyiv, showing photos of civilian men who were reportedly executed and left on the streets, according to the city’s mayor. 

Blinken said the U.S. is documenting any potential war crimes and vowed “accountability.” 

“We’ve said before Russia’s aggression that we thought it was likely that they would commit atrocities. Since the aggression, we’ve come out and said that we believe that Russian forces have committed war crimes. And we’ve been working to document that to provide the information that we have to the relevant institutions and organizations that will put all this together and there needs to be accountability for it.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the "Burma’s Path To Genocide" exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Monday, March 21, 2022. Blinken says the violent repression of the largely Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar amounts to genocide. The declaration on Monday is intended to both generate international pressure and lay the groundwork for potential legal action. (Kevin Lamarque, Pool via AP)
(AP)

“I think the most important thing is we can’t become numb to this. We can’t normalize this,” Blinken added. 

Host Dana Bash also added that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Sunday that “Russians aim to eliminate as many Ukrainians as they can,” and asked Blinken if he sees this as “genocide.”

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    People watch as smoke rises in the air after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (AP)

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    Women stay next to a car as smoke rises in the air in the background after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (AP)

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    Ukrainian servicemen climb on a fighting vehicle outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022. As Russian forces pull back from Ukraine’s capital region, retreating troops are creating a "catastrophic" situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and "even the bodies of those killed," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Saturday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (AP)

“We will look hard and document everything that we see, put it all together. Make sure that the relevant institutions and organizations that are looking at this, including the State Department, have everything they need to assess exactly what took place in Ukraine,” Blinken responded. 

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