Day 387: International Criminal Court issues war crimes arrest warrant for Putin

The International Criminal Court takes a historic step in issuing a war crimes arrest warrant for Putin. Battles rage around Bakhmut. Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Moscow next week.

International Criminal Court issues war crimes arrest warrant for Putin

The International Criminal Court said Friday, March 17, it has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, on similar allegations.

The court said in a statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukraine’s occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022, the court said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet Friday: “Wheels of Justice are turning: I applaud the ICC decision to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova over forcible transfer of Ukrainian children. International criminals will be held accountable for stealing children and other international crimes.”

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said in a Facebook post on Friday that Putin is now officially classified as a war crimes suspect responsible for forced deportation of Ukrainian children.  

“This means that Putin must be arrested outside of Russia and brought to trial. And world leaders will think twice before shaking his hand or sitting down with him at the negotiating table. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and that its leadership and accomplices will be brought to justice,” Kostin said.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General said the ICC decision was “historic for Ukraine and the entire international law system.” The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has verified at least 16,000 cases when Russia deported Ukrainian children from Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Kherson regions. The actual number of cases is probably much higher. Ukraine has brought back home 308 children who were deported to Russia. 

Battles continue around Bakhmut

Fighting rages in the north, east, and south of Bakhmut. The Ukrainian troops have partial success in some areas of the front, Commander of Ukraine’s ground forces Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said, quoted by the Military Media Center.

“The enemy conducts offensive operations all along the eastern frontline, trying to break the Ukrainian defenses and advance deep into their positions. The fiercest battles rage near Kreminna, Torske, Bilohorivka, and Spirne,” Syrskyi said. Bakhmut remains the epicenter of fighting, the commander of the ground forces said. The Russians deployed all their forces, trying to break the Ukrainian defenses in several directions to fully encircle the city, he added.

“Battles rage in the north, east, and south of the city. Thanks to the courage of our troops, the enemy takes heavy losses, has no success and retreats. Unfortunately, we take losses too, but they are much smaller than the losses that our defense forces inflict on the enemy,” Syrskyi added. 

China’s Xi Jinping to visit Russia next week for talks with Putin

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Moscow from March 20 to 22. This is Xi’s first visit to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. China said the visit was at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request.

The two leaders are expected to discuss further Sino-Russian cooperation, the Kremlin said in a statement, adding that “important bilateral documents will be signed” without elaborating.

How celebrities’ support brings attention to Ukraine? Ukraine in Flames #372

The full-scale war in Ukraine unleashed by russia has been going on for over a year. During this time, many Hollywood celebrities expressed their support not only in word, but also in deed. Some Hollywood stars even came to Ukraine to express their support for Ukrainian people and to see how Ukrainians live in such a difficult time. Watch Ukraine in flames #372 to find out about the support of Hollywood celebrities and what the victory of “Navalny” documentary at Oscars means for the Western audience and how it was perceived in Ukraine.


  • Dmytro Desiateryk, film critic, journalist
  • Daria Badior, film critic