(CNN) — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova for the alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.
The court said there “are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the alleged crimes, for having committed them directly alongside others, and for “his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts.”
The charges, which relate to an alleged practice that CNN and others have reported on, are the first to be formally lodged against officials in Moscow since it began its unprovoked attack on Ukraine last year.
It remains unlikely that a trial at The Hague will go ahead; Russia is not a member of the ICC and the court does not conduct trials in absentia, so any Russian officials charged would either have to be handed over by Moscow or arrested outside of Russia.
Earlier this month, CNN reported on 15-year-old Arina Yatsiuk, one of 345 Ukrainian children who disappeared since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, according to official Ukrainian statistics.
The Ukrainian government says many of the missing children have been forcibly taken to Russia. The Russian government doesn’t deny taking Ukrainian children and has made their adoption by Russian families a centerpiece of propaganda.
One senior Ukrainian official told CNN on Monday that Kyiv has been pushing the ICC for some time to seek arrest warrants against Russian individuals in relation to the war in Ukraine.
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