March 3 (UPI) — Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Friday, where he met with Ukrainian officials and reaffirmed support for the country in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Garland traveled to Lviv, in the Western part of Ukraine at the invitation of Ukrainian prosecutor general Andriy Kostin. The trip was not previously disclosed because of security reasons.
“The Attorney General held several meetings and reaffirmed our determination to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed in its unjust and unprovoked invasion against its sovereign neighbor,” Justice officials said, according to USA Today.
Garland’s trip comes two days after he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed the Russian government was committing crimes against humanity.
“The United States supports what is now being developed in The Hague, sponsored by Eurojust, looking into the possibility of creating that court [to charge crimes of aggression,]” Garland testified, according to CNN.
Garland also called Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian mercenary unit the Wagner Group, a war criminal.
“Mr. Prigozhin, who runs this thing, is in my opinion a war criminal,” Garland told Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Maybe that’s an inappropriate thing for me to say as a judge before getting all the evidence. But I think we have more than sufficient evidence for me to feel that way.”
Garland’s trip also comes two weeks after President Joe Biden made a secret trip to Ukraine and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, praising his country’s determination.
“Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us,” Biden said. “One year later, Kyiv stands and Ukraine stands. Democracy stands, Americans stand with you and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart.”