- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2022

The top U.S. envoy to a key European security forum warned Monday that Russia appears to be on the verge of carrying out “mass atrocities” in Ukraine, a stark warning on the 12th day of a Russian invasion that has already featured repeated attacks on civilian targets.

“The brutality of this war is both revolting and heartbreaking,” U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Michael Carpenter said in remarks to a special OSCE meeting in Vienna.

“Children have been killed, grandparents driven from their homes, families forced to flee their country in the face of relentless strikes on civilian infrastructure,” Mr. Carpenter said of the invasion that has sent more than 1.7 million Ukrainian refugees spilling into nearby nations — spawning the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

“The depravity of it all is mind-blowing,” he said in remarks that came as Russian and Ukrainian delegations engaged in a third round of talks Monday in Belarus that officials said were aimed at trying to reach tentative ceasefires in combat-battered cities around southern, northern and eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Carpenter cast doubt on the talks in his remarks to the OSCE in Vienna, noting that Russia had already agreed during a previous round last week to open a “humanitarian corridor” to allow civilians to flee the cities of “Volnovakha and Mariupol but then bombed the egress road just as civilians were in the process of fleeing.”

“It is pure evil,” the ambassador said, adding that the OSCE — the world’s largest regional security-oriented intergovernmental organization with observer status at the United Nations — has a “moral responsibility” amid signs that Russia is moving toward carrying out “mass atrocities.”

SEE ALSO: Lawmakers reach bipartisan deal to ban Russian energy and limit trade

“Among the many early warning signs of mass atrocities is the use of rhetoric denying a nation’s right to exist,” Mr. Carpenter said in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion over the weekend that Ukrainian forces battling the invasion are “calling into question the future of Ukrainian statehood.”

Mr. Carpenter warned that “humanity has witnessed this sort of rhetoric before, and shockingly we are seeing it again today.”

Separately, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators meeting for a third round of talks Monday said they had made at least limited progress on establishing escape “corridors” to allow trapped Ukrainian civilians to escape intense fighting in cities across the country’s south and east. Kyiv had previously complained that Russian forces had failed to respect promises to provide a safe exit for civilians and was only allowing passage into Russia or Belarus.

“We have achieved some small positive results concerning the logistics of humanitarian corridors,” Mikhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelkenskyy said on Twitter after the talks ended in Belarus.

But the Agence France-Presse news service reported that Russia’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky told reporters at the talks that “expectations from negotiations were not fulfilled.”

“We hope that next time we will be able to take a more significant step forward,” Mr. Medinsky added.

SEE ALSO: Moscow seeking to hire Syrian mercenaries for its war against Ukraine

• Guy Taylor can be reached at gtaylor@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide