“We’ve seen very credible reports of deliberate attacks on civilians, which would constitute a war crime. We’ve seen very credible reports about the use of certain weapons,” Blinken told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” The secretary appeared to be referring to Russia’s suspected use of cluster bombs in dense areas with many civilians.
“And what we’re doing right now is documenting all this, putting it all together, looking at it and making sure that as people and the appropriate organizations and institutions investigate whether war crimes have been or are being committed, that we can support whatever they’re doing,” Blinken said. “So right now, we’re looking at these reports. They’re very credible and we’re documenting everything.”
“We are following it very closely,” Biden said. “It’s too early to say that.”
In its new inquiry, the ICC has said it will look at all actions in Ukraine from 2013 to the present. Russia first entered the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which it later annexed, in 2014. The ICC was already investigating crackdowns on protesters by a previous Ukrainian government that was pro-Russian. This new referral seems to put all potential war crimes together.
“Of course, we’ll look at that,” he said when asked if the US would accept any of the more than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine who have crossed into neighboring countries since the start of the war.
“The United States is committed to doing anything we can, first of all, to support the countries that are bearing the immediate burden of taking in Ukrainians. And then, as appropriate, if people seek refugee status in the United States, of course, we will look at that and I’m sure act on that,” he said.
Russian oil import ban
In his interview with Tapper, Blinken said the US is working with its allies in Europe to look into the possibility of banning Russian oil imports in an effort to further punish the country.
“When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with the President and other members of the Cabinet on exactly the subject, and we are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil in world markets,” Blinken said.
Leaders from both parties have in recent days been calling on the US to cut off its supply of Russian oil, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has co-sponsored legislation to ban Russian oil imports.
“We shouldn’t allow Vladimir Putin to have the power at any moment to raise gas prices on Americans by cutting us off at some point now or in the future. So, we should cut him off now and replace it with American oil and have a buffer in between the time that that production starts up and the time that we make the cutoff,” he told Tapper in a later appearance on “State of the Union.”
“And we can use our strategic reserves for that,” Rubio said. “It makes no sense whatsoever to continue to buy oil from Russia that they use to fund this war and this murderous campaign they’re undertaking.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, on Sunday also urged the US to cut off its supply of Russian oil, telling NBC “Meet the Press” that his constituents think “it’s basically foolish for us to keep buying products and giving profit, giving money, to Putin to be able to use against Ukrainian people.”
This story has been updated with additional reaction and background information.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster, Ali Main, Kevin Liptak and Zachary B. Wolf contributed to this report.