Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Linda Thomas-Greenfield REUTERS/Mike Segar

The United States will ask the UN General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, the US ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday, according to Reuters.

A two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member assembly in New York can suspend a state for persistently committing gross and systematic violations of human rights.

"Russia's participation on the Human Rights Council is a farce," US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on a visit to Romania, adding, "And it is wrong, which is why we believe it is time the UN General Assembly vote to remove them."

Thomas-Greenfield said she wants to have the vote this week.

The announcement follows accusations that Russian troops killed dozens of civilians in the town of Bucha as they fled the Kyiv region.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the General Assembly has adopted two resolutions denouncing Russia with 140 votes in favor.

"My message to those 140 countries who have courageously stood together is: the images out of Bucha and devastation across Ukraine require us to now match our words with action," Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, called the attempt to exclude Russia from the Council as "unbelievable", adding that it was not going to be helpful for peace talks.

Footage published on Sunday showed hundreds of bodies in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha as Ukrainian forces retook areas previously occupied by the Russian army.

Germany, France, Britain, the US, and the European Union condemned Russia following the discoveries, with France, Britain, and Germany calling for a war crimes investigation.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" and called for him to be put on trial following reports of the mass graves in Bucha.

“He is a war criminal,” Biden told reporters. “This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone’s seen it."

“I think it is a war crime," he added. "He should be held accountable.”