AN arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin has been issued over his alleged involvement in the abductions of children from Ukraine.
The International Criminal Court has accused the Russian tyrant of the “unlawful deportation” of children from Ukraine – a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
The ICC said “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” for the crimes.
Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations of atrocities during its disastrous one-year invasion of Ukraine.
The court also issued a warrant for the arrest for Maria Lvova-Belova – Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights – on similar allegations.
It said “there are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation” of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
The court added “it is in the interests of justice… to publicly disclose the existence of the warrants”.
Under the 1948 Geneva convention, forcibly transferring children and changing that child’s nationality or civil status is considered a war crime.
Thousands of children have been abducted or taken to Russian-controlled areas – with only a few of them reuniting with their families in Ukraine.
A study by Yale University revealed at least 6,000 children from Ukraine have been taken to re-education camps across Russia – including in Crimea and Siberia – for “pro-Russia patriotic and military-related education”.
The report notes the number is “likely significantly higher”.
Nathaniel Raymond, a Yale researcher, said Russia was in “clear violation” of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the treatment of civilians during war.
Russia has tried to cast the relocation effort as saving orphans or bringing children for medical care but parents say their children were abducted or they were pressured to give consent to send them away.
The study claimed Putin’s aides have been closely involved in the operation – including Lvova-Belova.
She was previously accused of “barbaric treatment of children”.
Over a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is feared thousands of Ukrainian children were taken from occupied regions and given for adoption to Russian families.
An investigation by The Sun into Ukraine’s missing children back in September revealed that thousands of children have been deported during Putin’s invasion.
A gran spent months looking for her family after their home was destroyed by Russian shelling.
She was left in shock when she came across a clip online showing her granddaughter Nastya being introduced to new adoptive parents in Russia.
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