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Washington, DC – Yesterday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul questioned Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin on Putin’s war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine. 


-Questions and Answers as delivered-

Chairman McCaul: No, thank you sir. And from one prosecutor to another, I commend you for your courage, your bravery, and your just a strong character to seek justice against these, these monsters. I want to ask you about these children.

And I think about 20,000 now, and that’s just the ones we know about have been abducted and transferred into indoctrination camps in Russia. Do we have any? Is there any evidence of this? How high of a level do you think this comes from?

PG Kostin: One of the most challenging tasks for all of us is to identify not only the number of children who were forcibly deported, but also to identify where they are. You know that, according to our information, we have information about up to 20,000 Ukrainian children who were forcibly deported. And only a small part of them returned home.

For this, we need strong, unified pressure over Russian leadership in order to return Ukrainian children back home. This is easy, if they want to do it. There is a set of international legislation which could be used in order to return children via third countries, via international organizations, to their families and to their country. I always ask all the leaders I meet to raise this issue on a daily basis, using all your influence on international level that Russians will return our children home.

It’s also important, and I would say historic, that the first arrest warrant served issued by the International Criminal Court as a matter of war crimes committed during this full-scale aggression is issued against incumbent President of Russian Federation Putin. And I would say commissioner in brackets for Children’s rights, Lvova-Belova.”

So that, the whole world now sees that Putin is a suspect war criminal, and the pressure over him and his government to return our children back should be worldwide, including the countries of global south and some others who still try to be neutral, or still try to shake hands with Putin and his regime. They also need to see that Putin is a suspect in war crime, which is forced deportation and abduction of Ukrainian children.

Chairman McCaul: Do you believe the orders to abduct and indoctrinate these 20,000 children that we know about, that order, comes directly from Mr. Putin?

PG Kostin: This order comes, uh yes, directly from Mr. Putin, and we have a set of legislature acts and a set of his even public statements which confirm he ordered such policy. This information is also in line with the findings team of prosecutor of the International Criminal Court with whom we cooperate on constant scale. 

Chairman McCaul: And I think it’s important that this abduction of children transporting and indoctrinating falls squarely within the definition of genocide.

PG Kostin: Absolutely. We follow our investigation for such war crimes in two dimensions: as war crime and potential as a crime of genocide.

Chairman McCaul: Can you describe, and this will be my last question, your relationship with our Department of Justice? Are they fully cooperating with your investigation?

PG Kostin: I’m grateful for Department of Justice and personally, to Attorney General Merrick Garland for unprecedented support and coordination of our efforts. We are also cooperating with other investigations of other war crimes, and we have a cooperation with regard also to the case of deportation of Ukrainian children. The details I will not disclose at the moment.

Chairman McCaul: Thank you, sir.