The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin and another Russian official for the alleged deportation of Ukrainian children from Ukraine, amid an investigation by the organization and claims by global leaders—including the U.S.—that Russia has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during its invasion of Ukraine.
Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, are allegedly responsible for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children and the “unlawful transfer” of those children to Russia, according to the ICC.
The organization noted that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that both Putin and Lvova-Belova held responsibility for the war crimes “in prejudice of Ukrainian children.”
The New York Times reported earlier this week that the Hague-based court had opened war crimes cases tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with sources indicating that the organization would seek several other arrest warrants.
Though the court—working in cooperation with the United Nations—has issued arrest warrants, it relies on other countries to carry them out, which would require officials from another nation to detain Putin and Lvova-Belova for trial proceedings.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed comments by Vice President Kamala Harris last month by indicating the U.S. had determined Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, adding its findings “underlines [the] staggering extent of the human suffering inflicted by Moscow on the Ukrainian civilian population.”
Following the New York Times report, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the Russian government does not recognize the ICC and that it does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. The Russian Foreign Ministry previously suggested the court had failed to become an “independent and credible” body in 2016.
Allegations that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine over the last year have escalated in recent months. Harris, in an address to the Munich Security Council last month, said the Russian military had killed civilians during an attack on Mariupol and had carried out the mass deportations of Ukrainian children, among other claims. President Joe Biden called Putin a “war criminal” in April 2022 and called for him to go to trial. Other institutions, including the human rights organization Amnesty International, have also accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity.