Washington, Nov 21
The US imposed visa restrictions on two Russian military officials for their alleged involvement in "gross violations of human rights" in Ukraine amid the raging war.
In a statement on Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Azatbek Omurbekov, also known as “The Butcher of Bucha” who is a Colonel in the Russian Armed Forces, has been designated "for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killings of unarmed Ukrainian civilians from Andriivka".
The second designated military official was idenified as Daniil Frolkin, a Guard Corporal who was allegedly involved "in a gross violation of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killing of an unarmed Ukrainian civilian in Andriivka".
"As a result of today’s action, Omurbekov, Frolkin, and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the US," Blinken was quoted as saying in the statement.
According to the State Department, Colonel Omurbekov was the commanding officer of Russia’s 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade when Moscow's forces controlled the Ukrainian town of Andriivka.
"Omurbekov later led the brigade to Bucha where the Department of State determined that the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade killed, beat, dismembered, burned, and conducted mock executions of civilians," it added.
Blinken went on to say that by publicly designating Omurbekov and Frolkin, "the US reaffirms its commitment to upholding human rights, acknowledging the injustice experienced by victims and survivors, and promoting accountability for those responsible for human rights violations".
"The US stands committed to promoting accountability for Russia’s abuses and atrocities against the people of Ukraine. We will continue to use all appropriate avenues to pursue justice for Ukraine.
"We stand with Ukraine in its fight for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the rule of law, for as long as it takes," he added.
The announcement of the new visa sanctions comes on the same day that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made a surprise trip to Ukraine to emphasise continued US support to the war-torn nation.
As part of his trip, Austin announced an additional $100 million in security assistance for Ukraine.
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