ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin and Russian official linked to alleged deportation of Ukrainian children

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia February 16. (Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, a member of Putin’s government, it said in a statement on Friday.

Lvova-Belova is the official at the center of the alleged plan to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The ICC has declared that Putin and Lvova-Belova are “allegedly responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (of children) and illegal transfer of population (of children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation “.

Some key information: According to the United States and several European governments, the Putin administration has implemented a plan to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, often to a network of dozens of camps, where minors undergo political re-education. .

“Lvova-Belova’s efforts specifically include the forced adoption of Ukrainian children into Russian families, the so-called ‘patriotic upbringing’ of Ukrainian children, legislative changes to expedite the granting of citizenship of the Federation of Russia to Ukrainian children and the deliberate removal of Ukrainian children by Russian forces,” the U.S. Treasury said in September.

His governmental title is Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the Russian President.

The ICC statement on Friday said there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the above-mentioned crimes”, both for having committed the acts directly or through others under his command, and for “his failure to exercise proper control over civilians and military subordinates.”

Russia called the reports of forced relocation “absurd” and said it was doing “its best” to keep minors with their families.

The ICC announcement comes just days after several US news outlets reported that the court plans to open two war crimes cases related to the invasion of Ukraine and issue arrest warrants against them. ” several people “. would first open a case into Russia’s alleged kidnapping of Ukrainian children, then a second case would focus on Moscow “relentlessly” targeting civilian infrastructure, including water supplies and gas tanks.

The cases would represent the first international charges brought since the start of the Russian war and come after months of work by ICC special investigative teams, according to the NYT.

CNN’s Mick Krever, Zahid Mahmood and Sugam Pokharel contributed to this report.


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