ICC issues arrest warrant against Putin - Will it affect Ukraine-Russia war?

The warrant obligates all 123 member nations to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory. It is however unlikely to have any direct bearing on the ongoing war with Ukraine - apart from further straining Russia's diplomatic ties.

Anwesha Mitra
First Published18 Mar 2023
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the collegium of the Prosecutor General's office in Moscow, Russia, March 15, 2023. Sputnik/Pavel Bednyakov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the collegium of the Prosecutor General’s office in Moscow, Russia, March 15, 2023. Sputnik/Pavel Bednyakov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY(via REUTERS)

A recently issued arrest warrant appears to have made little difference in Russian President Vladimir Putin's routine or the ongoing war with Ukraine. The embattled politician travelled to Crimea on Saturday Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from the other country. The development came even as Kyiv's western allies hailed the largely symbolic arrest warrant and Moscow insisted that the the court has “no meaning” in Russia.

The warrant may however have the unfortunate effect of extending the Ukraine-Russia war. Experts believe that this will further strain diplomatic ties, keeping Putin (and Russia) away from the negotiations table.

“The arrest warrant risks obstructing any off-ramp Putin could use to end the war…Anything that further isolates his position has a risk - it risks him doubling down and focusing his determination to continue this conflict,” military analyst Sean Bell told Sky News.

Also read: ICC issues arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin - What are the charges?

Putin stands accused of war crimes, with the court specifically linking him to the alleged abduction of children from Ukraine during Russia's full-scale invasion of the neighboring country. All 123 member nations are now obligated to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory. But the ICC has no police force of its own and will be wholly reliant on member nations to even begin the trial for Putin.

While Russia continues to defend its 'invasion' of Ukraine, the possibility of criminal charges now loom increasingly closer for Putin. The warrant also serves to send a message to senior Russian officials that they may find themselves vulnerable to prosecution or facing additional travel restrictions in the days to come.

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