(CTN News) – The Kremlin reacted angrily on Friday after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes related to the forceful deportation of Ukrainian children.
Russia’s scheme of bringing thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia has not been hidden, but the country frames the initiative as a humanitarian effort to safeguard orphans and youngsters abandoned in the battle zone.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the deportations are part of a “state evil which originates precisely with the top official of this state” and will result in “historic culpability.”
A heated reaction was seen in Moscow after the announcement. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian Kremlin, claimed that any rulings made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) were “null and void” as far as Russia was concerned.
Not only does Russia not belong to the International Criminal Court (ICC), but neither do the United States or China.
“Get your hands off Putin, you Yankees!” spoke Vyacheslav Volodin, the president’s closest ally in parliament, on Telegram.
He said that attacks on the Russian president are seen as an act of hostility towards Russia.
Putin could be arrested if he travels to ICC member states
The United States has stated categorically that there is “no doubt” Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine. A warrant was also issued for Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova.
Although being only the third currently serving president to have an arrest warrant issued by the ICC, Putin is not likely to be brought before a judge anytime soon.
If he visits any country that is a member of the International Criminal Court, he risks being detained and deported to The Hague on this warrant.
“With this, Putin becomes an outcast. He may be apprehended on the road. Nothing ever seems to fix this. Moscow must comply with the warrants before any sanctions can be lifted, “the former U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes, Stephen Rapp, said.
The citizens of Russia’s capital city were shocked to hear the news. Putin! Nobody will arrest him,” a man identified only as Daniil, 20, told Reuters.
Maxim pledged, “We will protect him – the people of Russia.”
Throughout Russia’s year-long invasion of its neighbor Ukraine, Moscow’s forces have been accused of many violations, including, as reported this week by a U.N.-mandated investigative panel, soldiers letting children witness loved ones being raped.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Moscow has denied any crimes perpetrated by Russian forces.
Karim Khan, a prosecutor with the International Criminal Court, began investigating allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Ukraine a year ago.
He claimed to be investigating allegations of attacks on children and civilian infrastructure.
China’s close ties to Russia fuel scepticism about its role in Ukraine conflict
The arrest order was announced only days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s planned state visit to Russia’s capital, which is expected to solidify considerably tighter ties between Russia and China at a time when relations between Russia and the West have hit a new low.
U.S. and European authorities are worried that Beijing may supply Russia with weapons because of the “no limits” alliance the two countries had just before the invasion.
China has denied such plans, instead criticizing Western armament supplies to Ukraine, which may likely include fighter jets thanks to approvals in Poland and Slovakia this week.
The Kremlin has stated that the destruction of the jets will not alter the war’s trajectory.
While China is eager to deflect Western criticism over Ukraine, the notion of Beijing acting as a mediator in the conflict has been met with skepticism due to Beijing’s close links to Russia and its failure to describe Moscow’s war as an invasion.
According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, the United States is deeply concerned that China may try to encourage a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.
But, a ceasefire now would not lead to a just and sustainable peace between the two countries.
Despite eight months of Russian attempts to march through the industrial Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, bordering Russia, Ukrainian forces continued to hold their ground on Friday against Russian assaults on the devastated city of Bakhmut.
Since World War II, Europe has not had a conflict with as many casualties among infantrymen as Bakhmut.
Even though Russian forces have taken control of the city’s eastern half, they have yet been unable to encircle it.
On Friday, Ukraine’s military headquarters reported that Russia had launched 19 airstrikes and 26 missile attacks on the country.
Yermak, the chief of staff for the Ukrainian president, posted on Telegram that Russian forces had launched four airstrikes on the village of Avdiivka, located south of Bakhmut. He reported that shelling occurred “nearly around the clock” throughout the city.
Reuters did not immediately verify the accounts from the battlefield.
Russia claims it has targeted infrastructure in Ukraine to weaken its military and eliminate what it sees as a danger to its security, but it denies targeting civilians on purpose.
Russia is being accused by Ukraine and its supporters of starting a war without provocation to seize land from their pro-Western neighbor.
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