Kremlin says EU plans for war crimes tribunal are illegitimate

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(Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday condemned the European Union's calls to hold a war crimes tribunal over Russia's actions in Ukraine, saying any body would be illegitimate and unacceptable to Moscow.


European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday the EU would try to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

"As for attempts to establish some kind of tribunal: they will have no legitimacy, will not be accepted by us and we will condemn them," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a briefing call with reporters on Thursday.

The West and Ukraine have alleged multiple counts of Russian war crimes during the nine-month war, including in the town of Bucha which Russian forces occupied for a month following the Feb. 24 invasion and departed in late March after a failed offensive on the Ukrainian capital.

Kyiv has been pushing for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian military and political leaders it holds responsible for the war.

Russia denies targeting civilians or having committed other war crimes, and has accused Ukraine's forces of breaching international law and the Geneva Conventions during the conduct of what Moscow calls its "special military operation".

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Alison Williams and Nick Macfie)

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