The forcible deportation of Ukrainian children by Moscow is a war crime, according to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which on Friday issued an arrest order for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While presenting the plan as a humanitarian effort to protect orphans and children abandoned in the conflict zone, Russia has not concealed the fact that it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said the action would result in “historic accountability” and that the deportations represented a “state evil that precisely starts with the top official of this state.”
The statement incited a strong reaction from Moscow. According to Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, Russia finds the very questions the ICC is asking to be “outrageous and unacceptable,” and any decisions made by the court are “null and void” with regard to Russia. Russia is not a part of the ICC, just like the US and China are not.
For the same reasons, the judge also issued a warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights.
Putin, who is only the third president in office for whom the ICC has issued an arrest warrant, is not expected to appear in court any time soon. However, the warrant implies that if he visits any ICC member states, he might be detained and extradited to The Hague.
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