The Ukrainian leadership hailed the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Russia said the action is “outrageous” and meaningless. The actual prosecution and trial of Putin for war crimes are unlikely since Russia will not send him to The Hague, Netherlands, where the UN-backed court is located.
But the warrant could complicate Putin’s life and limit his travel opportunities, as he could be arrested if he goes to a country that supports the court. On Friday, the court issued the warrant for Putin and his commissioner of children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, for alleged war crimes in Ukraine involving the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from occupied territories to Russia.
“This means that they can now be arrested on the territory of countries that have signed the Rome Statute,” Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential office in Kyiv said.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, called Putin’s actions “evil,” and said thousands of children had been harmed by Kremlin orders. “Separating children from their families, depriving them of any possibility of contact with their relatives, hiding them on Russian territory, distributing them in distant regions - all this is obviously Russian state policy, it is state decisions, it is state evil,” he said in a Friday night video address. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said it’s a signal to the world that the “Russian regime” was criminal. “World leaders will now think three times before shaking hands with him [Putin] or sitting down at the negotiating table with him,” he said. Ukrainian investigators estimate Russia abducted more than 16,000 children from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Kherson. Kyiv managed to bring back 308 children. Russianspokesman Dmitry Peskov called the warrant “outrageous and unacceptable.” “Russia - like a number of other states - does not recognise the jurisdiction of this court. Accordingly, decisions of this kind are insignificant for Russia from the legal point of view.”