Biden says Putin “clearly committed war crimes” and ICC charges are justified

US President Joe Biden said on Friday his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had clearly committed war crimes in the course of Moscow’s all-out invasion of Ukraine since conflict erupted in the former Soviet state in February last year.

“He clearly committed war crimes,” the US president said on Friday, referring to the Russian leader.

Commenting on the arrest warrant for Mr Putin issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday, Mr Biden said: “Well, I think he is justified. But the question is – we don’t recognize it internationally either. But I think it makes a very strong point.”

The US is not a member of the global court.

The International Court of Justice accused Mr Putin of war crimes by taking hundreds of Ukrainian children from the war-torn nation’s orphanages.

The Russian President and his Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvoya-Belova have carried out “unlawful deportations” of children “from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

The first such warrant for the Russian leader allows the court’s 123 member states to detain Mr Putin for trial if he enters their territory, making several nation-states dangerous territory for the Kremlin president.

Moscow firmly rejected the arrest warrant on Friday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia does not recognize the ICC and considers its decisions “legally void”.

The International Court of Justice’s move to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Putin on war crimes charges is “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Mr Peskov declined to comment when asked if the Russian president would avoid traveling to countries where he could be arrested under the ICC warrant.

In a separate conclusion, the US has accused Russian forces of committing war crimes in Ukraine and said it supports accountability for war crimes perpetrators.

“There is no doubt that Russia is committing war crimes and atrocities (in) Ukraine, and we have made it clear that those responsible must be held accountable,” a State Department spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“This was a decision made independently by the ICC prosecutor based on the facts before him.”

Russia has captured at least 6,000 Ukrainian children in at least 43 camps and other facilities as part of a “large-scale systematic network,” according to a US-backed Yale University report.

Separately, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said his office has so far registered more than 70,000 potential war crimes cases over the past 13 months.

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