War in Ukraine: ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

Iegor Gran Putin has already created a magnificent way out

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Friday (March 17) it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children since the start of the Russian invasion. .

The ICC, which sits in The Hague, has also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, on similar charges. Russia is not a member of the ICC and experts say it is unlikely to hand over suspects. The court did not specify how it provided for the execution of the arrest warrants.

“Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two individuals in connection with the situation in Ukraine: Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms. Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova” , presidential commissioner for children’s rights in Russia, the ICC said in a statement. Vladimir Putin “is presumed responsible for the war crime of illegal deportation of population (children) and illegal transfer of population (children) from the occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”, added the court.

The Ukrainian Presidency immediately welcomed the issuance of this arrest warrant. “This is only the beginning,” said the head of the presidential administration Andriï Yermak on Telegram. The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office hailed a “historic decision”.

According to Moscow, this decision is “insignificant”, “meaningless” and has no legal value. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev even compared the arrest warrant to toilet paper on Twitter.

Slovakia to deliver 13 Mig-29s to Ukraine

Bratislava will deliver 13 Soviet-designed Mig-29 fighters to Ukraine, the prime minister said on Friday, making Slovakia the second NATO country after Poland to make such a decision. “We will hand over 13 of our Mig-19s to Ukraine,” Eduard Heger told reporters, adding that his country would also deliver the Koub anti-aircraft defense system to Kiev.

A few minutes later, Russia responded. “The delivery of this military equipment, as we have repeatedly said, cannot affect the outcome” of the conflict, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “Of course, this equipment will be destroyed,” he added.

Chinese President in Russia

“At the invitation of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia from March 20 to 22,” the ministry said in a statement. The aim will be to discuss “the deepening of the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China” especially “on the international scene” against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin confirmed, adding that “documents important bilateral agreements would be signed”.

China presents itself essentially as a neutral party in the war in Ukraine but is strengthening its ties with Moscow. The two leaders met in September 2022 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan. For their first meeting since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, they had shown their desire to support each other and strengthen their ties in the midst of a crisis with Westerners.

UK appeals to China

Britain has called on China to use President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow next week to encourage Vladimir Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that “if China wants to play a real role in restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty, we would obviously welcome that. […]. We are clear that any peace agreement that is not based on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self-determination is not a peace agreement at all. We will therefore continue to call on China, as we have done before, to join other countries around the world in calling on Putin to withdraw his troops.”

Macron expresses support for Moldova

Emmanuel Macron expressed his support on Friday for his Moldovan counterpart Maia Sandu in the face of “Russian destabilization attempts” in his country and the “tensions they cause”, announced the Elysée. During a telephone interview, he also praised the “efforts” to reform Moldova, a candidate for entry into the European Union, in particular that of “justice to improve the fight against corruption”, added the French presidency.

Poland to supply MiG-29 fighter jets

Poland will deliver a first batch of four MiG-29 fighter bombers to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on Thursday (March 16th), which will be the first such delivery by a NATO member. “In the coming days, we will first transfer four fully operational aircraft to Ukraine,” he told reporters.

kyiv has repeatedly asked its Western allies to send it modern fighter-bombers, hoping to get American F-16s. The Polish decision “does not change anything”, however, to the American refusal to do the same, assured John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House shortly after. Reacting to Warsaw’s announcement, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said: “MiGs will not solve problems, we need F-16s. But MiGs will help strengthen our capacities”.

Europe debates sending more planes

Denmark also said Thursday that Western countries are debating whether to send more fighter jets to Ukraine. On Friday March 17, the Danish Defense Minister added that Denmark was “open” to the idea of ​​sending fighter jets to Ukraine to help in its war effort against the Russian invasion.

In announcing the shipment of its MiGs, the Polish government also said that other countries had also promised MiGs to kyiv, but did not name them. The country also stressed that it had agreed to deliver its planes only as part of a larger international coalition doing the same. Germany immediately tempered these remarks. “So far everyone agrees that now is not the time to send fighter jets,” the German defense minister told reporters.

A war crime established by the UN

UN investigators commissioned by the Human Rights Council published their first report on Thursday, March 16 on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to them, the transfers by Russia of Ukrainian children in the areas under its control in Ukraine as well as on its own territory constitute a “war crime” and “violate international humanitarian law”.

According to kyiv, 16,221 children were deported to Russia until the end of February, figures which the Commission could not verify. But she points to the legal and political measures taken by Russian officials regarding the transfer of Ukrainian children, and the presidential decree in May 2022 facilitating the granting of Russian citizenship to certain children.

Concerning the accusations of “genocide”, in Mariupol in particular, the group of investigators nevertheless “did not note it”, declared to the journalists Erik Mose, one of the three commissioners in charge of the investigations, underlining however “that certain aspects can raise questions about this crime”.

The Commission also found “that the waves of attacks carried out by the Russian armed forces from 10 October 2022 against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and the use of torture by the Russian authorities could constitute crimes against humanity “, also indicated the investigator.

Sends artillery by the United Kingdom and Sweden

Sweden announced on Thursday (March 16) an agreement with the United Kingdom for the sale of its Archer artillery system, thus allowing London to donate to Ukraine an older model of artillery, the AS- 90. The two countries will also buy Archer artillery systems, long-range self-propelled guns, to send them to Ukraine, which has been asking for them for months.

The Swedish government has said that it has so far committed 16.9 billion crowns (1.51 billion euros) to militarily support Ukraine. In February, Sweden joined a series of Western countries promising heavier weapons to Ukraine, announcing the delivery of “ten” Leopard 2 tanks, as well as IRIS-T anti-aircraft missile systems and HAWK.

Keep the grain deal

Discussions on the international agreement on the export of grain from Ukraine, whose continuation beyond Saturday seems uncertain due to a disagreement between Moscow and Kiev on its duration, are continuing, the UN said on Friday. . Earlier in the week, the United Nations had indicated that this Black Sea Grains Initiative, which made it possible to alleviate the world food crisis, should be extended as it is beyond March 18, even if Russia halved the duration to 60 days.

Moscow is actually complaining that a second side deal to facilitate its own fertilizer exports is far less successful than the “Initiative” and accusing kyiv’s Western allies of blocking it.