Vladimir Putin: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant over alleged ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine

The warrant was issued after a UN-backed inquiry concluded that Russian forces had enaged in war crimes during the invasion and occupation of Ukraine
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A warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his actions in Ukraine.

The court took the decision after months of investigations around the actions of Russian forces amid the war in Ukraine. It has alleged that children living in Ukraine were forcibly deported to Russian territories, with these actions amounting to war crimes.

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In a statement confirming the arrest warrant, the ICC said that Putin is “allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” It comes after a UN-backed human rights inquiry concluded that “systemic and widespread” torture and killings have taken place in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion just over one year ago.

Alongside Putin, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, has also been issued with an arrest warrant. The ICC said: “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Ms Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others.”

Notable incidents which were under investigation included the mass graves found in cities such as Bucha and Izyum. Bodies of Ukrainian civilians, including men, women and chilren, were found alongside servicemen, with alleged evidence of torture and executions.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any accusations that it has carried out such atrocties. A court hearing held by the ICC could also be along way off however, as Russia continues not to recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign ministry, said: “The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view.”

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Ukraine previously called on the ICC to take action against Putin for the alleged war crimes. The issued arrest warrant has been met with celebration in Kyiv, with presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak saying: “The world changed.”

His words were echoed by Ukrainian foreign ninister Dmytro Kuleba, who said that the “wheels of justice are turning”. He added: “International criminals will be held accountable for stealing children and other international crimes”.

Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, is among those praising the ICC for taking the move. She said: “The ICC has made Putin a wanted man and taken its first step to end the impunity that has emboldened perpetrators in Russia’s war against Ukraine for far too long.”

The issue of an arrest warrant has also been welcomed in the UK. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, said: “I welcome the International Criminal Court’s decision to open war crime cases against Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian figures for their barbaric actions in Ukraine.

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“Today’s announcement sends an important message: there will no hiding place for Putin and his cronies and the world is determined to make them pay for what they have done. I have seen first-hand the destruction and devastation waged on the brave people of Ukraine.

“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. One day Putin will face justice: until then, the focus of all who believe in Ukraine’s liberty and freedom must continue to be on ensuring her victory.”

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