Day 388 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Biden called Putin's Arrest Warrant a "Very Strong Move" by the ICC
Day 388 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Putin arrived in Crimea for the anniversary of the annexation of the peninsula
- Biden called Putin's arrest warrant a "very strong move" by the ICC
- Russia: The ICC order for Putin's arrest is legally null and void
- Kyiv hails ICC's "historic" warrant on Putin
- VSU: Over 100 repelled attacks, 10 downed drones and 34 airstrikes on the Russian side
- ISW: Putin and Xi Jinping will seek sanctions-busting schemes for China to sell equipment to Russia
Putin arrived in Crimea for the anniversary of the annexation of the peninsula
9 years after Russia annexed Crimea and a day after the news of the warrant issued for his arrest, Vladimir Putin made his first public appearance.
The Russian president arrived on an unannounced visit to the annexed peninsula, where anniversary celebrations are planned today.
The Kremlin reports that Putin met with the Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol and that he visited a newly opened children's center.
The Russian president has not yet commented on yesterday's decision of the Court in The Hague.
Biden called Putin's arrest warrant a "very strong move" by the ICC
The order of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin caused a wave of reactions.
The magistrates' statement said there are grounds to believe that President Putin bears personal responsibility for war crimes committed in occupied territories in Ukraine, such as the deportation of adults and children to Russia. The court in The Hague also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children's rights in Putin's office in this connection.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the ICC order was "null and void" in legal terms:
"We consider the very formulation of the question outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of other countries, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the decision as "historic" and stressed:
"It is impossible to commit such a criminal act without the order of the supreme leader of the terrorist state. Separating children from their families, depriving them of any opportunity to contact their relatives, hiding children on the territory of Russia, throwing them in remote areas. All this is an obvious state policy of Russia, state decisions and state evil, which starts precisely from the head of this state."
Zelensky added that so far a little more than 300 children have been returned to Ukraine out of all those who were forcibly taken.
The EU's first diplomat, Josep Borrell, pointed out that "the beginning of the process of assuming responsibility" had been set.
US President Joe Biden indicated that the court decision was justified and added:
"The issue is that the International Criminal Court is not recognized internationally, neither by us, nor them, but I think they made a very strong move."
The Russian Commissioner for Human Rights Maria Lvova-Belova noted ironically: "It is good that the international community appreciates the work for the protection of children of our country - that we take them out of war zones and create suitable conditions for them, surround them with care and love".
Russia: The ICC order for Putin's arrest is legally null and void
The order of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin is "meaningless" and "legally void", Moscow announced immediately after the publication of the ICC's announcement.
"The decision of the International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction the Russian Federation does not recognize, on the arrest of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the children's ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova have no significance for the Russian Federation, including from a legal point of view," said the statement of the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.
"Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no responsibility under it. Russia does not cooperate with this body, and the possible ‘warrants’ for arrest that come from the International Court are legally null and void for us," the diplomat stressed.
Kyiv hails ICC's "historic" warrant on Putin
Ukrainian officials welcomed the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the "illegal deportation" of Ukrainian children.
Russia is not a member of the ICC and it is unclear how the ICC plans to implement the order, AFP reported.
"The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and courtiers will be held accountable," Ukraine's chief prosecutor Andriy Kostin said on social media.
"This is a historic decision for Ukraine and for the entire system of international law," Kostin added.
"World leaders will think twice before shaking his hand or sitting at the negotiating table with him."
The head of the administration of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, said the move was "just the beginning".
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also welcomed the news.
"(The wheel of) justice is turning. I welcome the decision of the International Criminal Court," Kuleba said.
"International criminals will be held accountable for child kidnapping and other international crimes."
The adviser to the Ukrainian president Mykhailo Podolyak said that the decision was "a clear signal to the (Russian) elite what will happen to them and why it will not be 'as before'".
VSU: Over 100 repelled attacks, 10 downed drones and 34 airstrikes on the Russian side
The Ukrainians repulsed over 100 Russian attacks in Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Mariyka and Shakhtyor. During the night, the Russians launched one missile and 34 airstrikes, and the probability of missile strikes throughout the territory of Ukraine remains very high, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported.
"The main objective of the enemy during the past 24 hours continued to be attempts to reach the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. To this end, the occupiers focused their main efforts on conducting offensive actions in the directions of Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdeevka, Mariyka and Shakhtyor. Thanks to the professional and coordinated actions of our defenders repulsed over 100 enemy attacks in these directions," the VSU statement said.
Meanwhile, VSU aviation delivered six strikes against Russian forces, and missile and artillery units hit two enemy deployment areas and one enemy air defense deployment position.
"The enemy carried out 34 airstrikes. 11 of them were carried out with the use of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles," reads the morning report of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Tonight, 10 enemy drones were destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses, and one drone hit an industrial infrastructure site. There are no casualties among the civilian population.
One of the rockets fired that night hit the village of Veletyanskoe in the Kherson region. Seven houses and the building of the local kindergarten were damaged by the debris, but fortunately, no one was killed, specify the VSU.
ISW: Putin and Xi Jinping will seek sanctions-busting schemes for China to sell equipment to Russia
Putin and Xi Jinping are likely to discuss schemes to circumvent sanctions and Chinese interests in brokering an agreement to settle the war in Ukraine. The sanctions crackdown is aimed at selling and providing Chinese equipment to Russia, the Institute for the Study of War wrote in its latest report.
On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a two-day state visit to Russia. The Kremlin announced that Putin and Xi Jinping plan to sign unspecified bilateral documents and discuss current issues of the Russia-China Comprehensive Partnership.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) notes that it has information about Chinese companies that sold Russian individuals rifles, drone parts and equipment that could be used for military purposes. Western intelligence agencies have said the Chinese leadership is considering providing lethal equipment to Russia.
It is likely that Xi Jinping plans to discuss with Putin and other Russian officials sanctions avoidance schemes to support the sale and provision of Chinese equipment to Russia, ISW reports.
On March 1, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping signed a package of 16 agreements that could make it easier to circumvent Russian sanctions by routing Chinese products through Belarus.
ISW predicts that the Chinese president will aim to position China as an impartial third-party mediator for the Russia-Ukraine talks. On February 24, China released a general 12-point peace plan for the war in Ukraine, but it remained unclear what China's more specific proposals for a negotiated settlement of the war would include.
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