Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the decision Friday by the International Criminal Court to issue warrants for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, APA reports citing CNN.
“Today we have a significant decision of international justice. In a case that has real prospects,” Zelensky said in his nightly address Friday. “This is a historic decision that will lead to historic responsibility.”
The Ukrainian president said his own country’s investigations also suggested the Kremlin had direct involvement in the forced deportation of children into Russia.
“In the criminal proceedings being investigated by our law enforcement officers, more than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of Ukrainian children by the occupier have already been recorded. But the real, full number of deportees may be much higher,” he said. “Such a criminal operation would have been impossible without the order of the highest leader of the terrorist state.”
Zelensky went on to thank the ICC and Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan. He called the forced deportation of children “evil.”
So far, Ukrainian officials have been able to return 300 children who had been forcibly deported to Russia.