Joe Biden Says Vladimir Putin Has ‘Clearly Committed War Crimes’ & Says ICC Arrest Warrant ‘Justified’ | World news

Joe Biden says Vladimir Putin has “clearly committed war crimes” after the Russian leader was the subject of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

THE president of the United States he also called the ICC’s decision to issue the warrant “justified”.

It comes after the intergovernmental group – based in The Hague – accused Put in to be responsible for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

An arrest warrant has also been issued for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russiaof the Commissioner for Children, on similar allegations of war crimes.

The warrants mean that if either of them set foot in one of the 123 ICC member states, the authorities of those countries would be obliged to arrest them and transfer them to The Hague.

The Kremlin said Russia, which does not recognize the International Criminal Court, deemed the issues raised by the court “outrageous and unacceptable”.

But Mr Biden, speaking at a press conference on Friday, said: ‘He is [Putin] clearly committed war crimes.

“I think it’s justified [the warrant]. But the question is: it is not even internationally recognized by us. But I think it represents a very strong point.”

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What does Putin’s arrest warrant mean

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Although both Russia and the United States were once signatories to the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the International Criminal Court – the United States has never ratified the accord, while Russia withdrew after the court’s criticism of the its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In addition to the ICC’s arrest warrant, the United States has separately concluded that Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine.

“There is no question that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities (in) Ukraine, and we have been clear that those responsible must be held accountable,” a State Department spokesman said.

Russia said the ICC warrants were “null and void” as it does not recognize the court.

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“Russia does not steal children”

Meanwhile, Ms Lvova-Belova said her arrest warrant validated her work “helping the children of our country”.

The allegations come as Russia prepares to mark the ninth anniversary of its 2014 annexation of Crimea, which Putin is expected to mark with a “patriotic” rally at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium this weekend.

What are the charges?

In a statement, the court argued the Russian president is “responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population [children] and that of illegitimate population transfer [children] from the areas occupied by Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

The International Criminal Court said its pre-trial chamber found there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that the two suspects were responsible for the alleged war crimes and that Putin “bears individual criminal responsibility”.

Russia has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia but presented the program as a humanitarian campaign to protect abandoned children and orphans in conflict zones.

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Putin’s arrest warrant a ‘historic moment’

Read our December report:
Chilling moment CCTV shows Russian FSB agents and soldiers scour Ukrainian orphanage for children

However, Sky News international affairs director Dominic Waghorn said the chances of Putin going to trial were low.

Evaluating the warrants, Waghorn said there is “a long list of people” who have been indicted but never had their time in court.

“Unless the war goes very badly for him — he’s been overthrown from power and handed over — it’s unlikely he’ll face trial,” Waghorn said.

How many children have been taken from Ukraine?

The exact number of children taken from Ukraine is unclear, with different organizations offering different estimates.

Waghorn said: “A respected human rights group in America estimates that 6,000 children have been deported to Russia, Ukrainians calculate it to be more like 16,000, and Russians themselves have said since 2014 that 700,000 children have been taken from Russia.” ‘Ukraine”.

Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, said Ukraine has been cooperating closely with the International Criminal Court and is currently investigating more than 16,000 cases of forced deportations of children to Russia.

The arrest warrant makes the diplomatic solution more problematic

Dominic Waghorn - Diplomatic Editor

Dominic Waghorn

International Affairs Editor


Sky News was the first to reveal video evidence of Russian soldiers seeking a place of refuge in Ukraine looking for children.

In December we broadcast chilling CCTV footage from an orphanage in Kherson in which 15 children were taken at gunpoint by the Russian army and circulated claims that much younger children suffered the same fate at another orphanage nearby.

An independent study says 6,000 babies were taken by Russians, Ukrainians say the real figure is more than double that figure.

Throughout this war there were repeated reports of children being abducted, kidnapped, or simply persuaded to go with the Russians and never return.

We have seen some children resurface at events in Russia, some presided over by President Putin himself, paraded by Russians who claim to have saved them from war and the Ukrainian government which Moscow claims is run by the Nazis.

These allegations are now the substance of ICC arrest warrants going to the top Russian government along with President Putin’s children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova.

She has been seen crying on Russian state TV, she says with glee, having adopted Ukrainian orphans whom she claims she has rescued.

She is not ashamed to boast about what is happening to Ukrainian children. She claims she believes she is saving them.

Outside of Russia she is seen as responsible for a system whereby Ukrainian children are effectively trafficked to Russia.

The development is very significant. It makes any hopes that a diplomatic solution to this conflict could be negotiated much more problematic.

It also puts pressure on countries that have been ambivalent about Russia’s invasion by abstaining from UN votes condemning it and colluding in Moscow’s efforts to avoid sanctions.

So far, Ukraine has managed to secure the return of 308 children.

ICC investigation into war crimes

In a press conference, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski said the warrants were “an important moment in the judicial process”.

He also said the judges handling the case “have determined that there are credible charges against these individuals for the alleged crime.”

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ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan opened an investigation a year ago into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine.

Mr Khan has stressed on previous trips that he was also looking into targeting civilian infrastructure and alleged crimes against children, who enjoy special protection under the Geneva Convention.

Ukraine is not a member of the tribunal but has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory.

Ukrainian and international response

In his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it a “historic decision, from which historic responsibility will start”.

“The head of a terrorist state and another Russian official have become officially suspects in a war crime,” he said.

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Zelensky reacts to Putin’s arrest warrant

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly welcomed the mandate from the ICC, which he said it would “hold the top of the Russian regime, including Vladimir Putin, accountable”.

“The work to investigate the atrocities committed must continue,” he wrote on Twitter.

Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said: “There is no question that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine, and we have been clear that those responsible must be held accountable.”

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs and security policy representative, said the warrants were “just the beginning of holding Russia accountable for crimes and atrocities in Ukraine”.


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