US President Joe Biden stated on Friday that the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes is "justified", the Belga News Agency reports.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, the US president recalled that the institution is not recognised by the United States, but considered that the decision sent "a very strong signal" nevertheless.
The United States has "no doubt that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine, and we have been clear that those responsible will be held accountable," a State Department spokesman said earlier while stressing that the ICC acts independently.
The head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell also welcomed "an important decision". The United Kingdom stated that the move that will "hold those at the top of the Russian regime, including Vladimir Putin, to account."
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The warrants, issued following a request by the ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, concern "the alleged war crimes of deportation of children from the occupied Ukrainian territories to the Russian Federation" since the start of the invasion, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski said.
He said that the issuance of the two arrest warrants is an "important moment in the process of justice" for the Court.
More than 16,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia since the invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, according to Kiev, and many have been placed in institutions and foster homes.
The US initially signed the Rome statute – the treaty which governs the International Criminal Court – under the Clinton administration but later withdrew under the leadership of George W Bush.