As Russian forces ramp up their brutal assault on Ukraine, international observers have noted at least three dozen instances of war crimes — air strikes on a theater with children inside, troops opening fire on a bread line, attacks on apartment buildings, even an attack on a children's hospital.
"The law of war literally uses the words 'Do not hit schools,' 'Do not hit hospitals,' 'Do not hit cultural sites,'" Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes David Scheffer said. "I mean, they actually use those words in the law. And so, it's very clear any general trained at all in the law of war would have been trained with those words deeply embedded in his or her mind."
The Associated Press has independently documented at least 34 attacks on civilian areas by Russian forces in Ukraine. All backed with witness accounts and time-stamped photos and videos.
The World Health Organization has tracked nearly twice as many — 64 attacks on Ukraine's health infrastructure alone since Russia's attack began.
"It is sad that we need to say that over and over again. Any attacks on health care are violations of international humanitarian law," U.N. Secretary General Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said.
The United Nations Human Rights Office has confirmed Russian attacks have killed at least 1,035 civilians, including dozens of children. More than 1,500 Ukrainians are wounded.
President Biden blames Vladimir Putin.
"Oh, I think he is a war criminal," the president said.
Both the U.S. and U.K. are now working with independent organizations to document evidence of Russia targeting civilians. And Amnesty International is documenting Russian war crimes in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
"It's not just any kind of violation of international law. It is an aggression under international law. It's a violation of the UN Charter," Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said.
Observers say war crimes prosecutors will likely indict leaders in Moscow at some point, but they'll need to prove these attacks intentionally targeted civilians.
"The International Criminal Court will doubtless indict Vladimir Putin," Scheffer said. "This is a top-down aggressive war, so there's no question of his superior responsibility in waging this war."