President Joe Biden said on Friday that the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin was “justified” as the country continued to launch widespread attacks in Ukraine.
The ICC on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Putin and the Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, accusing them of war crimes and involvement in the illegal deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. The ruling means that if Putin sets foot in any of the court’s 123 member states, that state is obligated to arrest him. The United States is not among the member states that recognize the ICC.
“I think it’s warranted,” Biden said in reference to the mandate, according to Reuters and The Hill. He noted that the warrant is not recognized by the United States, but that Putin “clearly committed war crimes,” Biden added.
Meanwhile, Russian forces launched 34 airstrikes, one missile strike and 57 anti-aircraft fire in 24 hours, Ukrainian military officials said Saturday morning.
- Falling debris in southern Kherson damaged seven houses and a kindergarten on Friday night.
- One person was killed and three others injured when 11 towns and villages in Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine were shelled on Friday, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the province’s regional governor.
- Homes were damaged and a catering business destroyed when Russian rockets hit a residential area in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday night. No casualties were reported.
- Ukrainian air force officials said they shot down 11 of 16 Russian drones on Friday night amid attacks in the central, western and eastern parts of the country.
- A grain deal meant to blunt soaring global food prices was extended on Saturday, according to Turkish official media. The UN humanitarian chief requested the extension on Friday as the deal neared expiry. Russia’s UN ambassador said Moscow would extend the deal, but only for 60 days. The deal allows Ukraine, one of the world’s major breadbaskets, to export grain from three of its Black Sea ports.
- The head of the Russian private military group Wagner announced on Telegram on Saturday that he plans to recruit around 30,000 new fighters by mid-May.
- British and German warplanes intercepted a Russian plane flying near Estonian airspace on Friday, Britain’s Royal Air Force said. This is the second time they have intercepted a Russian plane off the Estonian coast.
Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to travel to Moscow next week to meet Putin in what appears to be a show of support for the Russian president. Xi’s visit is expected to run from Monday to Wednesday.
China has previously refused to condemn Russia for the war in Ukraine, but has denounced Western sanctions against the country and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Putin.
The Biden administration has warned against China pushing for a unilateral peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine marks nine years since annexation of Crimea
On Saturday, Ukraine marked the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea by pledging to reclaim all Ukrainian territories occupied by Moscow.
“For nine consecutive years, the Crimean peninsula has suffered under the criminal Kremlin regime, which has turned it into a military outpost, a zone of unfreedom and harassment, aggression and terror against anyone and everything who have found the courage to resist and defend their democratic rights and values,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to CNN.
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 in a move much of the world has denounced as illegal.
Emine Dzheppar, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign minister, said: “Our duty is to bring freedom to the peninsula.” in a Twitter statement.
International leaders, including in the UK, Finland And Sweden, also denounced the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula to Ukraine and reaffirmed its support for the country. Meanwhile, Putin traveled to Crimea on Saturday to mark the anniversary.
Contributor: The Associated Press
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