Zelenskyy on Putin's arrest warrant: this case has real prospect, historical responsibility begins with this decision
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that there is a "real prospect" for the case of Russia's illegal deportation of Ukrainian children, in which the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin
Zelenskyy said this during his nightly video address.
"Today we have a significant decision of international justice. In the case, which has a real prospect. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Putin. This is a historic decision that will give rise to historic responsibility. The head of a terrorist state and another Russian official have officially become suspects in a war crime. In the deportation of Ukrainian children – the illegal transfer of thousands of our children to the territory of a terrorist state," Zelenskyy said.
The president emphasized that the actual number of deportations of Ukrainian children by Russia could be much higher than officially recorded.
"In the criminal proceedings being investigated by Ukrainian law enforcement, more than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian occupiers have already been recorded. But the real, full number of deportees may be much higher. It would be impossible to carry out such a criminal operation without the order of the terrorist state's highest leader. Separating children from their families, depriving them of any opportunity to contact their relatives, hiding children in Russian territory, dispersing them to remote regions – all this is obvious Russian state policy, state decisions and state evil. Which begins with the top official of this state," Zelenskyy underscored.
Ukraine’s president also thanked international law enforcement officials and emphasized that all deported children must be returned.
"I am grateful to the team of Prosecutor Karim Khan and the International Criminal Court, to everyone in the world who helps us fight for justice. I am grateful for their principle position and for their willingness to bring those responsible to justice. So far, we have managed to return over 300 children out of all those who were taken by force, kidnapped from Ukraine. Obviously, we have to return all of them. Obviously, we will continue to do everything for this. For the return of every Ukrainian, every Ukrainian woman, every child. And for the real accountability of all those responsible for this deportation – from the head of the terrorist state to all the executors," Zelenskyy said.
On March 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova in the case of deportation of children from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.