Russian state TV personalities react to Putin’s arrest warrant
Kremlin propagandists have responded angrily to the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin.
Friday’s ICC decision finding that the Russian president committed war crimes during his full-scale invasion of Ukraine centers on the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children. Yale’s Humanitarian Research Lab released a report in February alleging that at least 6,000 Ukrainian children had been sent to Russian “re-education” camps.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said his office had identified the deportation of “at least hundreds of children taken from orphanages and children’s homes”.
Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova is also wanted by the ICC for the same alleged crimes. Moscow called the ICC’s decision “outrageous” and the prospect of Putin visiting The Hague is unlikely given that Russia does not recognize its jurisdiction.
But those who appear on Russian state television have given their opinion on the ICC’s decision. RT manager Margarita Simonyan wrote on her social media channel Telegram: “I would like to see the country that arrests Putin in accordance with the decision of The Hague. Eight minutes later. Or whatever the time of flight to his capital,” she added.
This seemed to be a reference to the time it would take for a Russian nuclear missile to reach a Western capital, which is a frequent theme in the chat programs she appears on.
Meanwhile, TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov, who hosts a late night show on the Russia 1 channel that often features Simonyan, said The Hague “should nominate Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these children”.
“In Russia, we gave the children of Donbass shelter, food and education. And you couldn’t even humanely accept Ukrainian refugees into the European Union,” he added in remarks reported by the Ukrainian media Ukrainska Pravda.
Another TV host on Russia 1, Olga Skabeyeva, posted an image on Telegram captioned “Putin is going to The Hague”, in which Putin is on the back of US President Joe Biden at the bottom of the steps of Air Strength One.
The court may have no influence in Russia, which does not recognize its jurisdiction, but Biden said issuing the warrant “makes a very strong point,” telling reporters on Friday, “he clearly committed crimes of war”.
In a statement, the US State Department said Newsweek Friday that Russia’s alleged actions “will have serious long-term implications for the development of these children.”
“Russia’s actions speak for themselves. The international community cannot ignore the reality that appalling abuses are the result of decisions and actions at all levels of the Russian government,” the statement added. Newsweek contacted the Kremlin for further comment on the ICC decision.
Although it participated in the negotiations to create the ICC, the United States is not a state party to the Rome Statute which led to the Court. Former President Bill Clinton signed the statute but did not submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification. In 2002, former President George W. Bush informed the UN that the United States no longer intended to ratify the treaty and had no obligations to it.