The International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday alleging war crimes in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, triggering the most deadly conflict in Europe since World War II. Moscow claims it is a special military operation that is necessary to prevent Kyiv from being used as a platform for Western aggression. But Ukraine and its Western allies say it is an imperial-style war of occupation.
The International Criminal Court on Friday accused Putin of unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia since Moscow’s invasion in 2022.
“Many of these children, we allege, have since been given for adoption in the Russian Federation,” said The Hague. “The law was changed in the Russian Federation, through Presidential decrees issued by President Putin, to expedite the conferral of Russian citizenship, making it easier for them to be adopted by Russian families.”
Besides Putin, the court has also issued the arrest warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian commissioner for children’s rights.
However, chances of Putin facing a trial remain bleak as Russia does not recognise the court’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals. The court also does not have a police of its own to enforce its orders. But the arrest warrant could affect Putin’s travels whenever he seeks to attend an international summit in a nation that is member of the International Criminal Court.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called The Hague’s accusations “outrageous and unacceptable,” reported Reuters. He added that Russia, like many other countries, does not recognise the jurisdiction of the The Hague.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy termed it a historic decision. “The head of the terrorist state and another official have officially become suspects in a war crimes case,” he said.