The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands, has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who the court accused of being responsible for war crimes in Ukraine, including the unlawful deportation of children.
Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces have committed atrocities in Ukraine even as a warrant has also been issued for Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.
However, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman said the ICC decision’s has “no significance whatsoever.”
Russia earlier threatened to destroy any fighter jets given to Ukraine by its allies after two countries promised planes.
Analysts believe that this warrant on the face of it, is an extraordinary development in Russia’s year-old invasion of Ukraine.
Analysts said of all the many alleged and well-documented war crimes committed in Ukraine by Russian forces, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has chosen to focus on the apparent forced abduction of Ukrainian children to Russia.
In the eyes of the Court, the blame rests squarely with President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova.
The arrest warrants are in response to the alleged war crime of unlawful transfer of children from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.
A statement issued by the ICC said the arrest warrants were intended to be secret in order to protect victims and witnesses.
But, it said it was in the interests of justice to publicise them in order to prevent any further abductions.
Russia has denied the alleged war crimes. The Kremlin has also repeatedly said it does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and says it bears no obligations under it.
Responding to the arrest warrant against Putin, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said it has “no significance whatsoever”.
“The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.
“Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible ‘recipes’ for arrest coming from the International Court will be legally null and void for us.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has hailed the ICC’s decision to issue the arrest warrant against Putin.
“The world received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and henchmen will be held accountable,” Andriy Kostin said in a statement on social media.
“This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law,” he added.