Russia's President Putin attends Prosecutor General collegium meeting in Moscow


  • The ICC said its pre-trial judges have found 'reasonable grounds' to hold Putin accountable
  • Putin could be arrested and extradited to the Hague if he sets foot in one of the 123 nations under the Rome Statute
  • Ukraine lauded the ICC's arrest warrant as a 'historic decision'

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and children's rights commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova over alleged war crimes involving the forced deportation and adoption of Ukrainian children.

In a news release, the ICC said both Putin and Lvova-Belova are "allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation."

The ICC also said the court's pre-trial judges found "reasonable grounds" to hold both Putin and Lvova-Belova accountable for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children amid the war.

The arrest warrant means Putin and Lvova-Belova could get arrested and extradited to the Hague to face trial as war criminals if they step in any of the 123 nations that are signatories to the Rome Statute, including Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Shortly after the ICC's announcement, U.S. President Joe Biden said the warrant was "justified" and that Putin "clearly committed war crimes" in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, Biden pointed out that, like Russia, the United States does not recognize the court's jurisdiction. The United States is not among the 123 signatories of the Rome Statute.

In a statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Putin's arrest warrant a "historic decision" from the ICC, adding that it will "really bring to justice those who are guilty."

"I am grateful to the team of Prosecutor Karim Khan and the International Criminal Court, everyone in the world who is helping us in the fight for justice. I am grateful for integrity and willingness to really bring to justice those who are guilty," he said.

It is unclear how many Ukrainian children have been forcibly transferred to Russia amid the war. A report from the Conflict Observatory last month found that over 6,000 children have been placed in Russian custody amid the war.

Zelensky, in his speech, said Ukrainian authorities had recorded more than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of Ukrainian children, adding that the actual number would likely be much higher.

Russian President Putin takes part in the opening ceremony of the Year of Teacher and Mentor, via video link in Moscow