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The EU wants a specialized court to investigate war crimes in Ukraine
The European Union proposed on Wednesday to set up a UN-backed specialized court to investigate war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine and to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild the war-torn country.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message that the EU will work with international partners to get the "broadest possible international support" for the court, while continuing to support the work of the International Criminal Court.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, his military forces have been accused of abuses ranging from killings in the Kiev suburb of Bucha to deadly attacks on civilian targets, including the March 16 bombing of a theater in Mariupol.
Investigations into military crimes committed during the war in Ukraine are underway across Europe, and the Hague-based International Criminal Court has already begun investigations.
Von der Leyen added that the 27-nation bloc wants to make Russia pay for the destruction it caused in neighboring Ukraine by using Russian assets frozen under sanctions. She estimated the damage to Ukraine at 600 billion euros.
"Russia and its oligarchs must compensate Ukraine for the damage and cover the costs of rebuilding the country," von der Leyen said. "We have the means to make Russia pay."
Von der Leyen said that 300 billion euros of Russian central bank reserves have been frozen and that 19 billion euros of Russian oligarchs' money has been frozen.
The EU said lifting restrictions on Russian assets could be linked to the conclusion of a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia that would resolve the issue of compensation for damages.