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Kremlin ‘Categorically Denies’ Ukraine War Crimes Claim in Int'l Court

A woman reacts as she stands next to her house following a rocket attack in the city of Kyiv. Emilio Morenatti / AP / TASS

The Kremlin said Tuesday it “categorically denies” Ukraine’s accusations of war crimes during its deadly invasion of the neighboring country that sent shockwaves around the world.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan said Monday he was launching an investigation on the "situation in Ukraine" following Russia's invasion.

“We categorically reject this,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who was among 26 high-profile officials sanctioned by the European Union on Monday, told reporters.

“After all, we’re not members of the ICC,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

Khan had said last week that The Hague-based court had received many queries "with respect to the crime of aggression" but could not exercise "jurisdiction over this alleged crime" as neither Russia nor Ukraine were signatories to ICC's founding Rome Statute.

Amnesty International has accused Russia of conducting indiscriminate attacks that have killed civilians and “can constitute war crimes.”

Russia maintains that it has only targeted Ukrainian military facilities since launching its "special military operation."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called Russia a “terrorist state” after an early Tuesday bombing of the administrative building in central Kharkiv.

Ukraine on Saturday filed a case at the UN’s International Court of Justice on accusations of genocide.

Nearly 660,000 people have fled Ukraine in the last five days, the UN's refugee agency said, with tens of thousands more displaced inside the country.

"The numbers are exponentially increasing... At this rate, the situation looks set to become Europe's largest refugee crisis this century," spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo told reporters in Geneva. 

AFP contributed reporting.

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