Retired General Says Putin Could Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

Retired General Says Putin Could Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

Despite operating large numbers of precision-guided munitions, civilian casualties are on the rise in Ukraine.

An experienced U.S. Air Force officer expects Putin to wind up in International Criminal Court for what clearly seems to be a deliberate attempt to murder children, innocent civilians, hospital patients, and pregnant mothers.

"The Russians philosophy is not one that is concurrent with the laws of armed conflict, or the Geneva Convention,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, now dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “The actual statistics over the last two weeks is that the Russians have attacked hospitals in over eighteen circumstances. I'm here to tell you that I'm pretty certain that we're going to see Vladimir Putin in front of the International Criminal Court and prosecuted not unlike (former Serbian president Slobodan) Milošević.”

Deptula was the principal attack planner for the Desert Storm coalition air campaign in 1991, and later director of the Combined Air Operations Center for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in late 2001. Both campaigns were noted for their use of precision-guided munitions.

Russia is believed to operate advanced munitions as well, but large numbers of Ukrainian civilians have been killed nonetheless. That’s one reason why Deptula believes Putin could later be held to account.

"Because of their complete and total disregard of avoiding civilian casualties in quite frankly, the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure,” Deptula said. “So the Russian military is not interested in the precision use of the munitions that they have.”

Russia operates precision-guided artillery rounds with ranges of up to seventy kilometers. It also fields ground-launched rockets and air-dropped weapons that are capable of striking with accuracy. Despite that, many weapons being used are not precision munitions.

“We do have indications that not everything that the Russians are using in their long-range fires are precision guided,” Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday. “A number of munitions are not, and therefore not precise. Which, of course, just raises the likelihood and the chances of civilian casualties, and damage to civilian infrastructure.”

A Russian attack earlier this week hit a Ukrainian hospital in the city of Mariupol. Department of Defense officials said they were unable to determine what kind of weapon was used in that attack.

Kris Osborn is the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters.