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Putin ‘clearly’ committed war crimes, says Biden

Joe Biden claims Vladimir Putin “clearly committed War Crimes”, following an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant for his arrest.

The US president described the ICC’s decision not to issue a warrant as “justified”.

It was after an intergovernmental group, based in The Hague, accused Putin of abducting children from Ukraine.

Maria Alekseyevna Lvova–Belova was also arrested on similar charges of war crimes.


The warrants state that if one of the two entered any of the 123 ICC member states, authorities would have to arrest them and transport them to The Hague.

According to the Kremlin, Russia does not recognize the ICC and found the questions asked by the court “outrageous” and unacceptable.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr Biden said that Putin had committed war crimes.

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“I believe it’s justifiable [the warrant]. It’s not recognized internationally, but that is the question. It’s a strong point, I believe.”

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What does a Putin arrest warrant mean

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Although both Russia and the US were once signatories of the Rome Statute – which established the ICC – the US has not ratified it. Russia withdrew its support after the court’s critique of its 2014 annexation in Crimea.

The US also issued an arrest warrant for the ICC and concluded that Russian forces committed war crimes against Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the State Department stated that “there is no doubt Russia is committing war crime and atrocities in (Ukraine), and that we have been clear to say that those responsible must face accountability.”

Russia claimed that the warrants of the ICC were null and void because it doesn’t recognize the court.

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“Russia doesn’t steal children”

Ms. Lvova-Belova stated that her arrest warrant was valid for her work “helping children of our country”.

These allegations are made as Russia prepares for the ninth anniversary of its 2014 annexe of Crimea. Putin will mark this occasion with a rally at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

What are the allegations about ?

The court stated that the Russian President was “responsible” for the war crime of unlawful removal of population [children] as well as unlawful transfer [children] from occupied regions of Ukraine the Russian Federation.

According to the ICC, the pre-trial chamber concluded that there was “reasonable ground to believe” that two suspects were responsible for the alleged war crime and that Putin is “individually liable”.

Russia has sent thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, but the program was presented as a humanitarian campaign to help abandoned children and orphans living in conflict zones.

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Putin arrest warrant: a ‘historical moment’

View our December report:

Video shows Russian FSB agents and soldiers scouring Ukrainian orphanages for children

Dominic Waghorn, Sky News’ international affairs editor, said that Putin is unlikely to be tried.

Waghorn analyzed the warrants and found that there was “a long list” of people who were indicted, but not brought to court.

Waghorn stated that unless the war ends badly for him, he’s been toppled from power and he has handed over, it’s unlikely that he will face trial.

How many Ukrainian children were taken?

It is not known how many children were taken from Ukraine, and different organizations offer different estimates.

Waghorn stated: “One respected American human rights group estimates that 6,000 children were deported to Russia. The Ukrainians think it’s closer to 16,000. And the Russians themselves claim that 700,000 children have been removed from Ukraine since 2014.

Chief of the Ukrainian presidential staff Andriy Yermak said that Ukraine had closely cooperated with the ICC. Currently, Russia is investigating more than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of children to Russia.

A warrant of arrest makes it more difficult to find a diplomatic solution

Dominic Waghorn

International Affairs Editor


Sky News was the first to show video evidence that Russian soldiers were searching for children in Ukraine.

We broadcast chilling CCTV footage of 15 children being taken by the Russian military at gunpoint in Kherson’s orphanage. The footage was also shown in another nearby orphanage.

According to one independent study, 6,000 children were taken by the Russians. However, the Ukrainians claim that the real number is much higher.

There have been numerous reports that children were kidnapped, abducted or persuaded by the Russians to join them in this war.

Some children have been seen resurfacing in Russia, some of which were presided over Putin by his own government. They are being paraded by Russians who claim to have saved them from war and the Ukrainian government that Moscow claims is run by Nazis.

These allegations now form the basis of International Criminal Court Arrest warrants, which go all the way to the top of Russia’s government and President Putin’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova Belova.

Russian state television has shown her weeping. She says she was happy to have adopted Ukrainian orphans, which she claims she saved.

She boasted openly about the terrible things happening to Ukraine’s children. She says she believes she is saving them.

She is accused of running a system in which Ukrainian children are trafficked into Russia from outside Russia.

This is a significant development. This makes it even more difficult to believe that a diplomatic solution to the conflict can be found.

It puts pressure on countries that have been ambivalent towards Russia’s invasion, abstaining from UN votes condemning it or colluding with Moscow in its efforts to avoid sanctions.

So far, Ukraine has been able to return 308 children.

ICC investigation into war crimes

Piotr Hofmanski (President of the ICC) stated that warrants are “an important moment” in the justice process.

He stated that the judges were able to find credible evidence against the accused for the crime.

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Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, had opened an investigation a few years ago into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Khan mentioned that he had previously visited Afghanistan to examine the targeting of civilian infrastructure as well as alleged crimes against children. Children are under special protection under the Geneva Convention.

Ukraine is not a member but has given the ICC jurisdiction over its territory.

Ukrainian response

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy addressed the nation at night calling it a historic decision from which he will take on historical responsibility.

He said that the head of a terrorist country and another Russian official were officially suspects in war crimes.

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Zelenskyy reacts to Putin’s arrest warrant

James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, welcomed the ICC warrant. He said it would “hold those at top of the Russian Regime, including Vladimir Putin to account”.

He wrote that “work must continue to examine the atrocities committed”, via Twitter.

Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council stated: “There’s no doubt Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine and we have made it clear that those responsible need to be held accountable.”

Josep Borrell is the EU representative for foreign affairs, security policy and international relations. He said that the warrants “only the beginning of holding Russia responsible for the crimes and atrocities committed in Ukraine”.


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