The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes, primarily involving the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. The court alleges that these crimes were committed in Ukraine starting from February 24, 2022, when Russia began its invasion. While Russia denies the allegations and called the warrant “outrageous,” the move could affect the president in several ways, including restrictions on his international travel.
The ICC stated that it had reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Putin committed the crimes directly and in collaboration with others, and also accused him of failing to use his presidential powers to stop children from being deported. Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, is also wanted by the ICC for the same crimes. Previously, she spoke openly about efforts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children taken to Russia, with some even claiming that they adopted Ukrainian children. The ICC initially considered keeping the arrest warrants confidential, but later decided to make them public in the hope that it would prevent further crimes from being committed.
Despite the warrant, there is little chance that Mr. Putin or Ms. Lvova-Belova will appear in The Hague dock, as Russia is not a signed member of the ICC. Although the ICC lacks the power to arrest suspects and can only exercise jurisdiction within its member countries, the warrant could still have repercussions for Mr. Putin, including potential limitations on which countries he can visit. While the Kremlin has dismissed the warrant as “null and void,” Ukrainian officials have praised the decision to press charges against “state evil” and believe it is “only the beginning” of holding Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine.