Ukraine war crimes: Britain could impose sanctions on individuals accused of atrocities, says policing minister

Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse, arrives in Downing Street, London. Picture date: Tuesday March 8, 2022. (Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images)
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said Britain could impose sanctions on Russian troops and generals suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine. (Getty)

Britain could impose sanctions on Russian troops and generals suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine, policing minister Kit Malthouse has said.

Malthouse told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that sanctions on individuals would signal Britain's "recognition of their part" in alleged atrocities during the invasion of Ukraine.

His comments come amid widespread accusations of war crimes carried out by Russia in Ukraine.

On Thursday human rights group Amnesty International published testimony detailing accounts of Russian forces executing Ukrainian civilians and repeatedly engaging in "unlawful violence".

The testimony covered allegations relating to the city of Bucha, where evidence uncovering torture and beheadings has been uncovered in recent weeks.

Watch: Kramatorsk attack 'must be' charge at war crimes tribunal: Zelensky

Speaking on Sunday, Malthouse said it was important that evidence of atrocities was gathered as "assiduously as possible".

"While that is ongoing we can take action domestically around sanctions we are able to put on individuals, including combatants, leading generals and others involved in it, to signal our recognition of their part in this dreadful, dreadful assault upon a free democratic country," he told Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

Read more: What is the punishment for a war criminal?

He said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s walkabout with President Volodymyr Zelensky through the streets of Kyiv during a surprise visit on Saturday had been "quite a remarkable moment".

"I think it symbolised the support and the leadership that we are trying to show across the world as we seek a victory for Ukraine," he said.

On Saturday Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Getty)

Russia has denied claims of war crimes, saying some images and footages showing dead civilians had been faked.

But on Sunday Ukraine's prosecutor general Iryna Veneditktova repeated claims that Russia had committed atrocities, telling Sky News: "This morning we have 1,222 dead people in the Kyiv region only.

"Of course, what we saw on the ground in all regions of Ukraine is war crimes, crimes against humanity, and we do everything to fix it."

Veneditktova also said a missile attack on a railway station in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk which killed more than 50 people was a Russian war crime, saying: "Absolutely, it’s a war crime. It was a Russian missile which killed more 50 people.

"These people just wanted to save their lives. They wanted to be evacuated with kids. It was women, it was children, and they just wanted to save their lives."

Preliminary international probes are already underway into allegations of war crimes.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says Putin's war has so far resulted in 1,626 confirmed civilian deaths and 2,267 injuries - but adds the actual figures will be "considerably higher".