The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations of atrocities during its one-year-old invasion of its neighbour. A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry said the arrest warrant against Putin had “no significance whatsoever”.
The ICC issued the warrant for Putin’s arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
The ICC move came a day after a UN-mandated investigative body accused Russia of committing wide-ranging war crimes in Ukraine, including wilful killings and torture, in some cases making children watch loved ones being raped and detaining others alongside dead bodies.
News of the arrest warrant also came ahead of a planned state visit to Moscow next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping which is likely to cement much closer ties between Russia and China just as relations between Moscow and the West hit new lows.
Russia has been placed under unprecedented Western sanctions since he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022.