The International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin was “justified,” President Joe Biden said Friday.
“Clearly he has committed war crimes,” Biden told reporters at the White House. He added that he thought the order was “justified,” though he noted that the United States, like Russia, does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
His comments came after the ICC court order charged Putin with committing the “war crime” of overseeing the illegal abduction and deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
He said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bore individual responsibility for the crimes and that he had failed to exercise adequate control over the subordinates who committed the acts.
An arrest warrant was also issued for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Putin’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, who the ICC said had committed similar crimes.
The move sparked outrage in Russia, where Putin’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov rejected the findings. “We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize the jurisdiction of this court. This is how we deal with this,” he said in a Telegram post.
Moscow has always denied the war crimes allegations, describing them as a “fantasy” aimed at discrediting Russia. The Russian embassy in the United States said last month that the country had taken in children forced to flee fighting.
Although Moscow formally withdrew its signature from the ICC’s founding statute in 2016, the ICC move will force the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to the court’s headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, if he crosses its borders.
However, most governments also abide by an international legal principle that heads of state have legal immunity from other courts.
Inside Russia, the UK Defense Ministry told an intelligence briefing on Saturday that the Kremlin was increasing military conscription to meet the needs of the war and would likely change the rules and age restrictions on who was eligible to serve. serve.
Officials in Russia’s parliament, the Duma, introduced a bill on Monday to change the age range of conscription to men between the ages of 21 and 30, he said in the daily note posted on Twitter. Currently, the age range is 18 to 27, she said, adding that the new law would take effect in January.
“It is highly likely that the authorities will change the age group to bolster the number of troops by ensuring that students are ultimately forced to serve,” the report said.
Although Russia continues to officially ban conscripts from participating in operations in Ukraine, “at least hundreds have probably served through administrative mix-ups or been forced to sign contracts,” he said.
This will free up a higher proportion of professional soldiers to fight, even if the recruits do not deploy to the conflict in Ukraine, according to the report.