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State Dept. Launches 'Conflict Observatory' To Document Russian War Crimes In Ukraine

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The U.S. State Department has announced the launch of a "Conflict Observatory" program to document alleged war crimes and other atrocities perpetrated by Russia during their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"The program encompasses the documentation, verification, and dissemination of open-source evidence regarding the actions of Russia's forces during President Putin's brutal war of choice," the State Department said in a press release Tuesday.

The Conflict Observatory will analyze and preserve publicly and commercially available information, including satellite imagery and information shared via social media, consistent with international legal standards, for use in ongoing and future accountability mechanisms. This includes maintaining rigorous chain-of-custody procedures for future civil and criminal legal processes under appropriate jurisdictions.

The Observatory's reports and analyses will be published on the ConflictObservatory.org website.

The State Department says it has earmarked $6 million to invest in this is program, adding that future funding is expected from the European Democratic Resilience Initiative (EDRI).

In March, the White House announced at least $320 million in funds for EDRI to bolster democratic resilience, advance anti-corruption efforts, and promote respect for human rights in Ukraine and its region.

This new Conflict Observatory program is part of a range of U.S. government efforts at both national and international levels designed to ensure future accountability for Russia's horrific actions, the State Department said.

The program is being launched in collaboration with Esri, a leading geographic information systems company, Yale University's Humanitarian Research Lab, the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, and PlanetScape Ai.

Meanwhile, Mariupol's massive Azovstal steel plant, Ukraine's last stronghold in the south eastern port city, has apparently fell to Russian forces as nearly thousand Ukrainian soldiers who were holding out there were evacuated to Russian-controlled territory.

3,752 civilians have been killed and 4,062 others injured in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The UN agency estimates that the actual number of casualties is considerably higher.

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