The killing of civilians in Ukraine was planned by Russia even before the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, and this decision was made at the “highest levels”, said National Security Adviser to the President of the United States Jake Sullivan in an interview with ABC News on April 10.
According to him, reports of torture and killing of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military, in particular in Bucha, were "horrifying, but not surprising."
Sullivan has also said U.S. intelligence data suggested that Russia was planning this before the start of a full-scale war.
“There was a plan from the highest levels of the Russian government to target civilians who oppose the invasion,” he stressed.
Sullivan acknowledged that some of the killings and other crimes were committed by the Russian military “without direction from above."
“I do think some of these units engaged in these acts of brutality, these atrocities, these war crimes, even without direction from above. But make no mistake, the larger issue of broad-scale war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine lies at the feet of the Kremlin and lies at the feet of the Russian president,” he said.
Earlier, Sullivan stated that Russian General Alexander Dvornikov, who has taken over the management of the occupying forces of the Russian Federation in the war against Ukraine, would continue to carry out brutal attacks against civilians.