The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
Russian President Putin is the third serving president to be the target of an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The court also issued a warrant on Friday for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges.
Also Read: Russia wants to end the war in Ukraine – President Putin
Ukraine has said more than 16,000 children have been illegally transferred to Russia or Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.
A U.S.-backed report by Yale University researchers last month said Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children at sites in Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The report identified at least 43 camps and other facilities where Ukrainian children have been held that were part of a “large-scale systematic network” operated by Moscow since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has not concealed a program under which it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia but presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in the conflict zone.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine a year ago. He highlighted during four trips to Ukraine that he was looking at alleged crimes against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
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