International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine
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Featured Image Credit: Kremlin Pool / Alamy Stock Photo/Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
An arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin has been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.
The Hague court, which investigates those accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, issued the warrant for the Russian President today (17 March) due to his alleged involvement in the abduction of children in Ukraine.
In a statement, 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'.
These crimes are said to have been allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory since 24 February, 2022.
Alongside Putin, the ICC has also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, over the same suspected crimes.
Pre-trial judges decided that 'there are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for' the accusations.
Although warrants are often kept secret in order to protect victims and witnesses as well as the investigation, the judges decided that they should be made public as it may help to 'contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes'.
Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin praised the move on social media, while slamming Putin for the alleged 'unlawful deportation and unlawful transfer' of Ukrainian children.
He wrote: "Now, if Putin leaves Russia, he would be arrested and surrendered to ICC.
"World leaders will think twice before shaking his hand or sitting with Putin at the negotiating table.
"It’s another clear signal to the world that the Russian regime is criminal."
In a separate tweet, Kostin said that 'over 16,000' incidents of forcible deportation of children are being investigated in Ukraine, although officials fear this number may be higher.
"We’ll do our utmost to bring children home and hold every perpetrator of the horrendous crimes accountable," he said, adding that he is grateful to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan QC for the historic decision.
The news arrives shortly after Poland announced it will be sending at least four of its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, becoming the first NATO ally to assist the Ukraine's request for warplanes.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday (March 16): "Firstly, literally within the next few days, we will hand over, as far as I remember, four aircraft to Ukraine in full working order.
"The rest are being prepared, serviced."
Earlier today, Slovakia joined in on the pledge, promising to send a fleet of its MiG jets to the country to help in its battle against Russia.