The war has exacted a staggering toll on Ukraine’s civilian population. Civilians have lost their lives during rocket attacks of preschools, bombardments of bread lines, and missile strikes of hospitals. In cities like Bucha and in other locations across Ukraine, the Russian military has arbitrarily detained, tortured, raped, and executed civilians, demonstrating an egregious disregard for international law. According to the United Nations, over 6.6 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country and millions more have been displaced. At home, the Russian government has attempted to silence all opposition to the war, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing critics for lengthy terms under new legislative provisions that criminalize peaceful dissent.
As Ukraine marks its Independence Day, many who would ordinarily be celebrating are instead mourning and rebuilding. For many civilians, the day will be marred by the drone of air raid sirens and the fear that their lives are imperiled as they take cover in homes, shelters, and workplaces.
The U.S. government must do all it can to protect civilians during this conflict, compel Russia to end its war of aggression, demand Russia’s accountability for war crimes, and increase humanitarian support to the Ukrainian people.
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