Putin compared to Hitler for ICC-mandated Mariupol visit
A Ukrainian official has compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for visiting the scene of his crimes in Mariupol, one of the heavily destroyed towns in Ukraine since the war began last February.
“Another dictator also visited Mariupol once. We know how his story ended. – WarHistoryOnline,” Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Mariupol, a strategic seaport along the Sea of Azov, was seized during the Nazi occupation of Soviet Ukraine during World War II from 1941 to 1943. The city was badly damaged at this time during which Nazi Germany also invaded Leningrad, now called Saint Petersburg, and killed up to 1 million Russians, prevented citizens from leaving and left hundreds of thousands to starve to death, according to a report published last April by the United States Embassy in Georgia.
Eighty years have passed since the Nazi occupation of Mariupol, but the city again suffered similar abuses when Putin’s forces launched heavy offensives last year and left thousands of residents without food, water and public services.
The war crimes allegations centered on Mariupol, which fell to Russia last May, where a drama theater housing women and children was bombarded by Russian artillery at the start of the invasion. Outside the theater at either end were the words “Children” painted in Russian.
Meanwhile, Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov said at the time that up to 1,200 people sought refuge in the theater. Some women and children were able to escape, but hundreds died.
Putin visited the city on Saturday, a day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes. During a visit to the city, the Russian president was briefed on the reconstruction efforts by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, Reuters reported, citing state television.
The Russian president also visited Crimea on Saturday to celebrate the ninth anniversary of its annexation to Ukraine. The Eastern European peninsula has also been the scene of alleged crimes committed by the Russian Federation, as it was involved in human rights abuses and a crackdown on dissent in Crimea, according to Amnesty International, an international organization. focused on human rights.
“The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. As the civilized world announces the arrest of the “war director” (VV Putin) in case of crossing its borders, the murderer of thousands of Mariupol families came to admire city ruins & tombs. Cynicism & lack of remorse,” Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, tweeted on Sunday.
Putin has been accused by the ICC of abducting and illegally transporting Ukrainian children and teenagers to Russia, where many have been adopted by Russian families. An arrest warrant has also been issued against the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
Putin is unlikely to be indicted while in power, but experts still believe the ICC arrest warrant is a positive step. It is also uncertain whether the Russian leaders will be brought to justice under international law, as the ICC relies on member countries to make the arrests, and the defendants could easily avoid traveling to countries where they could be handed over.
In addition, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has spread to major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Odessa, and recently intensified in Bakhmut.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry by email for comment.