Russian President Vladimir Putin has been issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Russia answer for the thousands of war crimes that he alleges the country has committed.
In a surprise visit to the ICC, Zelensky called for the creation of a war crimes tribunal that would hold the Kremlin accountable for the atrocities it has allegedly committed.
The Ukrainian president claimed that there were 6,139 war crimes committed by Russia in April 2023 alone, resulting in the deaths of 207 Ukrainian civilians, including 11 children.
Zelensky also paid tribute to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down by Russian forces in 2014, resulting in the deaths of 196 Dutch nationals. A minute of silence was held for all those who have died as a result of Russian “terror.”
“We cannot stop wars of aggression, but we can defeat aggression as a criminal idea that originates in the mindset of someone who is used to impunity,” said President Zelensky in his speech at the ICC.
“If you look at any war of aggression, they all have one thing in common – the perpetrator of the war did not believe they would have to stand to answer for what they did.”
Zelensky thanked the Netherlands for the weapons it has supplied to Ukraine so far and announced that the war would eventually be won by force of arms. He also called for the creation of a war crimes tribunal that could potentially see Putin himself forced to explain the atrocities carried out by the Kremlin.
The ICC has raised a Ukrainian flag next to its own flag outside the building, indicating that Zelensky’s visit was unofficially confirmed.
The court’s judges had previously announced that they found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights were responsible for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of the Ukrainian war effort since Russia’s invasion last year, providing military equipment such as 14 modern Leopard 2 tanks it is buying together with Denmark, two Patriot air defense missile systems, two naval minehunter ships, and military forensic experts to assist war crime investigations.