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The ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over war crimes

A little over a year has passed since Russia first invaded Ukraine. Now the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for his alleged war crimes.

The international criminal court has just issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.

Both leading parties have been accused of the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children throughout the war, which has been going on for over one year.

Judges in the court’s pre-trial assessment have said they have ‘reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of the [Ukrainian] population.’

They continued with the allegations, stating that Putin and Lvova-Belova had authorised the ‘unlawful transfer of populations from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.’

Moscow has already responded to the ICC’s action in a way that is totally on-brand for Russia, as Putin has seemed to believe he is above the law on many occasions. Russian officials stated that the country does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which is located in The Hague.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, announced on Telegram: ‘The decisions of the international criminal court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view. Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC and bears no obligations under it.’

We will have to wait and see how those beliefs hold up in the coming days.


In the meantime, the ICC-issued arrest warrants shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as Russia hasn’t exactly kept their illegal operations under the radar.

Its leadership has publicly admitted to removing Ukrainian children from their home nation and transporting them across the Russian border.

Once in Russia, the children were put into camps or signed up for adoption programs and sent to stay in the care of Russian families.

In mid-February, Lvova-Belova – Putin’s children’s rights commissioner – appeared on television telling Putin about the child deportation programme. Lvova-Belova revealed that she had ‘adopted’ a young teenager from the south-eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Mariupol had been heavily attacked and was occupied by Russian forces in the earliest months of the invasion.

It’s highly likely the dialogue recorded in this televised segment played a role in the ICC judges issuing the first arrest warrants for the pair of Russian leaders.

A Kyiv-based international human rights lawyer and managing partner of Global Rights Compliance, Wayne Jordash, has said that further allegations are likely to pile up in the months to come and that additional arrest warrants are sure to be issued.

Though Moscow seems to believe it is above the rules and legislation set out by international law, these new developments are a great indication that no one – not even one of the world’s most unpredictable and feared leaders – is immune to being held accountable for their wrongdoings.