UKRAINE/RUSSIA: The International Criminal Court (ICC) is anticipated to seek the arrest of Russian officials for forcefully removing children from Ukraine and attacking civilian infrastructure, a source said.
The deputy speaker of the Russian upper house of parliament, Konstantin Kosachyov, said the ICC has no longer jurisdiction over Russia since it stopped its support in 2016.
“The ICC is an instrument of neo-colonialism in the hands of the West,” said Kosachyov.
ICC to seek its first arrest warrant
The International Criminal Court (ICC), which launched a probe into war crimes in Ukraine last year, is anticipated to pursue its first arrest warrants against Russian officials “short term,” a source with knowledge of the situation said.
It was not clear which Russian officials the prosecutor may seek warrants against or when the warrant might be issued, but they might constitute the crime of genocide, said the source.
The ICC prosecutor’s office refused to comment. Also, the Russian defense ministry remained silent in response to a request for comment.
Russian officials have denied prior allegations that they forcefully moved Ukrainians. It claims that it only transported Ukrainian kids to Russia as part of a humanitarian effort to protect children and orphans who had been left behind during the fighting.
Maria Lvova-Belova, one of Putin’s aides and the president’s commissioner for children’s rights, said that 350 children have been accepted by Russian families and more than 1,000 more are available for adoption.
Ukraine says that thousands of deported Ukrainian children are being adopted by Russian families, living in camps, receiving Russian passports, and being raised to deny their Ukrainian identity.
The U.N. genocide convention describes “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” as one of five actions that can be charged as genocide.
Moscow refuses to intentionally harm civilians, but its defense minister has acknowledged targeting the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. As per Human Rights Watch, Russian troops have also bombed and shelled hospitals, schools, and urban areas in a “disproportionate and indiscriminate” manner.
Reports of impending arrest warrants have emerged just over a year after Khan started investigating possible war crimes, crimes against humanity, and atrocities in Ukraine. In the past year, he has made three trips to Ukraine, visiting places where war crimes are reportedly being committed.
Russia would undoubtedly reject any arrest warrants issued for its officials, but an international war crimes prosecution could exacerbate its diplomatic isolation as a result of a campaign that resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and evicted millions of people from their homes.
Ukraine has twice requested that the ICC exercise its authority over its territory, despite neither Russia nor Ukraine having ratified the Rome Statute, the charter of the court. 43 ICC member states have directed the situation to the court, paving the way for the investigation.
Advocates for the ICC say that measures are in place to prevent that from happening, limiting the court’s authority to situations in which the country of origin of a war crimes suspect is reluctant or unable to prosecute.
On the battlefront, Ukrainian troops reported Monday that they were fending off attacks near Kreminna, which is located north of Bakhmut. Explosions and cannon booms could be heard continuously in a woodland about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the front.
“It is very tough in the east—very painful,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a video message on Monday, adding that “we have to destroy the enemy’s military power. And we shall destroy it.”
Ukraine’s military announced early on Wednesday that Russia had carried out 76 attacks with heavy rocket salvo systems, 35 airstrikes, and five missile attacks over the course of the previous day, including attacks on civilian facilities in the Sumy and Donetsk regions.
On the Bakhmut front, Ukrainian forces thwarted attacks on seven settlements, it added.
Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst for Ukraine, stated in an interview that his country was suffering losses in reserves that it planned to use for a later push against Russian troops. “We could lose here everything we wanted to use for those counter-offensives.”
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