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ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin on war crime allegations


Judges say warrant issued for Russian president’s alleged involvement in child abductions from Ukraine; Moscow says the court’s step is pointless.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

The court in The Hague said in a statement Friday that the order was issued over Putin’s suspected involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin is individually criminally responsible for the above crimes,” added the court, which has no police force of its own to enforce orders.

The ICC also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the children’s rights commissioner in the Russian president’s office on similar charges.

Russia, which denies committing atrocities since it invaded Ukraine last February, does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and does not extradite its nationals.

“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, not even from a legal point of view,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on her Telegram channel after the ICC’s announcement.

“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it.”

The arrest warrants came a day after a United Nations-backed investigation accused Russia of committing large-scale war crimes in Ukraine, including the forcible deportation of children in areas it controls.

Ukrainian Attorney General Andriy Kostin welcomed the ICC’s decision.

“The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and that its leaders and accomplices will be held accountable,” he said in a statement posted on social media. “This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law.”

More to follow…