Is the Russian invasion of Ukraine a war crime? | USA TODAY

War crimes can occur only during an armed conflict, according to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

RELATED: Russian airstrikes, attacks on Ukraine intensify; Babi Yar Holocaust memorial damaged

Russian troops have killed hundreds of civilians, including more than a dozen children, and shelled apartment buildings and neighborhoods in their assault on Ukraine, realities that qualify Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal, observers say.

On Monday, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said he plans to open an investigation “as rapidly as possible” into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Already, Putin’s war against his far smaller neighbor to the west has created as many as 677,000 refugees.

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