Russian-Ukrainian War Live: Biden Backs Putin’s Arrest Warrant, Says Russian Leader ‘Clearly Committed War Crimes’ | Ukraine

Biden says Putin’s arrest warrant is ‘warranted’

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin had clearly committed war crimes and that the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for the Russian leader is a “very strong point”.

“Well, I think it’s warranted,” the US president said of the mandate on Friday.

But the question is – it’s not recognized internationally by us either. But I think that makes a very strong point.

The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Pentagon has refused to cooperate with them for fear that American soldiers could potentially be prosecuted by the Court.

The ICC decision, on allegations that Putin supervised the abduction of Ukrainian children, marks the first time the court has issued a warrant against one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskywelcomed the court’s decision, saying on social media that it was “a historic decision from which historic responsibility will begin”.

Key events

Opening Summary

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Adam Fulton brings you the latest developments.

US President Joe Biden says Vladimir Putin “clearly committed war crimes” and the International Criminal Court is “justified” in issuing an arrest warrant for the Russian president.

The court on Friday called for Putin’s arrest over allegations he supervised the abduction of Ukrainian children and the illegal transfer of people from Ukraine to Russia during the war.

Moscow said the arrest warrant was “meaningless” and legally “void” because it did not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

More on this story soon.

In other developments as 9 a.m. approaches in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv:

  • Russia suffers up to 1,500 casualties a day in its current offensive, mostly in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to a senior NATO official. Ukraine was taking “an order of magnitude less” in the fighting where “several thousand” shells a day were fired from both sides, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to visit Russia next week in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin. During the visit, scheduled for March 20-22, the two leaders will sign “important” bilateral documents and discuss issues of further development of a comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Moscow and Beijing., said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

  • The United States is deeply concerned that China is trying to position itself as a peacemaker in the war in Ukraine by promoting a ceasefire, the White House said. A ceasefire in Ukraine “would in effect recognize Russia’s gains and its attempt to conquer its neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue to occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory”, the spokesperson said. White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says Turkey will start the process of ratifying Finland’s NATO bid in parliament after Helsinki took “genuine and concrete steps” to deliver on its promises in a trilateral agreement. Erdoğan also said that Turkey’s willingness to consider ratifying Sweden’s NATO bid “will depend on the strong steps Sweden takes.”

President Erdoğan alongside his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto, in Ankara on Friday. Photograph: Burhan Özbilici/AP
  • Sweden remains convinced that it will join NATO, the foreign minister said. Tobias Billström said Ankara’s separate ratification of Finland’s and Sweden’s candidacies was “a development we didn’t want, but it’s something we’re prepared for”.

  • Slovakia to donate 13 MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukrainedeclared its prime minister. Eduard Heger told a press conference that his government was ‘on the right side of history’ as Slovakia became the second NATO member to announce such an expedition in 24 hours, after a similar decision from Poland. The Kremlin said the promised planes were another example of NATO members “raising the level of their direct involvement in the conflict”, adding that “all this equipment will be subject to destruction”.

  • Talks are underway on the renewal of an agreement allowing the safe export of grain Ukrainian Black Sea ports, the UN office in Geneva said. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, negotiated between Russia and Ukraine by the UN and Turkey last July, is due to expire on Saturday. The UN, Ukraine and Turkey have called for a renewal of the 120-day deal. Russia has said the deal should only be renewed for 60 days.

  • kyiv’s wartime curfew will be cut by an hour to boost business. Kyiv City Administration Chief Serhiy Popko said the new curfew period – starting at midnight instead of 11 p.m. – would increase public transport time and that reducing its duration “should help reduce social tensions, increase production, create new jobs”.

  • Russian Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu presented state awards to pilots of Su-27 aircraft involved in the drone incident over the Black Sea to “prevent the violation of the borders of the special operation zone by the American drone MQ-9 Reaper”.

  • Moldova’s president said she saw no danger of war in her country as Ukraine continued to entrench itself against Russia. “The Russian army cannot get here as long as Ukraine holds its ground – and [therefore] protects Moldova,” Maia Sandu told the Moldovan parliament.

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