International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The HagueiStock

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan announced Monday night that he would open an investigation into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country.

Khan said that the investigation would be opened as "rapidly as possible" and that it would focus initially on crimes allegedly committed prior to Russia's invasion, but stated that “given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is my intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of my office that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.”

The International Criminal Court in the Hague has a preliminary probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 2013-2014 in Kyiv, eastern Ukraine, and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Khan will now seek approval to open a full-scale investigation and to broaden the investigation to cover the recent conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday requested that his country be granted immediate full membership in the European Union. The US has decided to suspend embassy activities in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. A senior US official has said that if Belarus continues to assist in Russian aggression in Ukraine, they will also face the consequences.

The Ukrainian government on Monday afternoon reported that dozens of people had been killed in extensive bombings in Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country. A senior Ukrainian government official said that hundreds of people were injured in the attack.

At the same time, cease-fire talks have between Russia and Ukraine began at the Belarusian border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Russian soldiers in Ukraine: "More than 4,500 of your soldiers have been killed. Put down your weapons, do not trust your commanders and this propaganda. Just save yourself and leave."

Zelenskyy said 16 children have been killed and 45 injured in the past four days. "We will release prisoners with military backgrounds if they agree to enlist in the war against Russia," he said.

In Israel, one hundred tons of humanitarian aid equipment is being prepared to be sent to Ukraine, including water purification systems, emergency kits for water supply, tents, blankets, sleeping bags, coats, medicines and medical equipment.