Biden, Kremlin respond to Putin’s arrest warrant by ICC

President Joe Biden, when asked on Friday whether Putin should be tried for war crimes, Biden did not directly answer, but said the Russian leader has “clearly committed war crimes.” The International Criminal Court had earlier that day issued an arrest warrant for Putin. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(The Hill) – President Joe Biden on Friday said the International Criminal Court is “justified” in issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over allegations of war crimes.

Asked whether Putin should be tried, Biden did not directly answer, but said the Russian leader has “clearly committed war crimes.”

“But the question is, (the ICC is) not recognized internationally by us, either,” he added. Neither Russia, nor the U.S., recognizes the jurisdiction of the court. “But I think it makes a very strong point.”

It was Friday when the ICC issued the warrant for Putin and another Russian official. The warrant is believed to be one of the first charges against Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, part of a global effort to hold the Russian president and the Russian Federation accountable for atrocities beginning with the full-scale February 2022 invasion.

The warrant targets Putin over alleged war crimes, and it cites him and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, for the forced deportation of Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied territory to Russia.

The Kremlin blasted the allegations, noting it does not cooperate with the ICC.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during a meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) board in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“We consider the very posing of the question outrageous and unacceptable. Russia, like a number of states, does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and, accordingly, any decisions of this kind are null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tweeted Friday.

Vice President Kamala Harris last month told an international security conference that the U.S. had formally determined Russia had committed crimes against humanity, arguing Russian soldiers had conducted widespread attacks against Ukrainian civilians that included murder, torture and rape.

Putin is expected to meet next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. officials have warned that China may be considering providing support to Russia for its war effort in Ukraine.

Asked about his expectations for the meeting between Xi and Putin, Biden said, “We’ll see when that meeting takes place.”

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