‘Wholesale Slaughter’: Officials Warn of Escalating Violence in Ukraine
The U.S. officials warn that violence from the Russian military against Ukraine is likely to intensify in the coming days.
“Reports of Russia’s human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law are mounting by the hour,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Russian strikes are hitting schools, hospitals, residential buildings, are destroying critical infrastructure, which provides millions of people across Ukraine with drinking water [and] gas to keep them from freezing to death.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a blunt warning that “the worst is yet to come militarily.”
“I think there’s a commitment by the Ukrainian people to fight to the death, so the idea of Russia using overwhelming military power against innocent civilians is more likely today than it was yesterday,” Graham told reporters.
“We need a Berlin airlift-type support for the Ukrainian economy and pour weapons into the country. But do not be fooled. The Ukrainians have fought bravely. They’re freedom fighters of the 21st century. But the Russian military capability that is unused is pretty massive, and I expect a scorched-earth policy to unfold here in the coming days regarding Ukraine. I expect wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian military,” he added.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, warned that Russia’s military strategy is to “escalate before they de-escalate, and they still have the tools to do that.”
“Vladimir Putin will lose this battle. He will lose this war. He will be a pariah amongst not only NATO and America but amongst all civilized nations. That will be his legacy out of this,” Warner said.
Experts say that the setbacks Russian forces have faced so far could embolden Putin to further escalate their efforts.
“I think it’s about to get uglier and worse unless there’s some kind of diplomatic breakthrough that passes,” said Ben Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities.
“Wars tend to escalate and tend to get more violent as they go on, and it’s certainly possible in frustration with not achieving its objectives Russia might change its tactics and level parts of Ukraine,” he added.