The UK’s attorney general has appointed a war crimes lawyer to advise Ukraine over the Russian invasion.
Suella Braverman said Sir Howard Morrison would become an independent adviser to Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova.
Sir Howard served as a judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague for more than 12 years.
It comes as Russian forces continue to be accused of violating international law by targeting civilians.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing war crimes after it launched air strikes in Kharkiv that hit an opera house, a concert hall and government offices.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor later said evidence was being collected on whether the Russian military had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
But Russia is not a member of the ICC, so any Russian nationals indicted by the court would have to be extradited by the Kremlin.
Asked by MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday about alternative ways of prosecuting war criminals other than the ICC, the attorney general said “all options are on the table”, although she insisted the ICC was the UK’s preferred option.
“I will always defer and support my counterpart in Ukraine, the prosecutor general, in terms of my efforts to support her in terms of her choice of route for redress,” she said.
“But whilst we welcome the focus on accountability, we do believe that the ICC is the right place for those responsible for committing these atrocious crimes in Ukraine to be held accountable for their actions.”
Announcing Sir Howard’s appointment, Ms Braverman said the UK was committed to “showing that the atrocities we see being committed day after day in Ukraine will not be forgotten”.
Ms Venediktova welcomed Sir Howard’s help, saying his experience and knowledge of international criminal law “speaks louder than words”.
During his time as a judge, Sir Howard oversaw cases such as that of the Serbian war criminal, Radovan Karadzic.
The attorney general’s office said Ms Braverman was in regular communication with Ukraine’s prosecutor general and they planned to meet in person next month.
On a trip to The Hague last week, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab accused Mr Putin of responding in “ever more barbaric ways” in Ukraine and offered the ICC financial and technical help for prosecuting alleged war crimes in the country.
Boris Johnson has used similar language, describing the Russian military under Mr Putin’s orders of using “barbaric and indiscriminate” tactics.
Russia denies targeting civilians and says it is carrying out a military operation against “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine.