Conflicts & War

Zelenskyy calls for Putin to face international justice over Ukraine war

(Update: adds Zelenskyy Nato remarks)

The Hague, May 4 (EFE).- Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday called for a special court to be set up to bring Russian president Vladimir Putin to justice for his country’s “crimes of aggression” committed during its invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking from the headquarters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Zelenskyy said Putin “deserves to be sanctioned for his criminal actions here, in the capital of international law.”

“We all want to see a different Vladimir here”, he said, referring to the Russian president.

The ICC issued two arrest warrants in mid-March, one against Putin and the other against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian presidential commissioner for children’s rights, for allegedly illegally deporting children and transferring them from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia, which would amount to a war crime.

“It is our historical responsibility” to punish crimes of aggression to prevent further wars, Zelenskyy stressed. “More than the fate of a country is at stake: the defeat of an aggressor and an end to wars of aggression as such can be achieved,” he said.

According to the Ukrainian leader, in April alone Russia committed 6,149 war crimes in Ukraine, with 207 civilians killed, including 11 children. In Wednesday’s shelling of Kherson, 23 civilians were killed and 45 were wounded, he said.

So far, 35 countries, including the Netherlands, have supported the creation of a special international tribunal for the crimes of Russia’s war of aggression, while some, including the United States, suggested the creation of a “hybrid” or “joint” tribunal, with international participation but based on Ukraine’s own laws.

Later on Thursday, Zelenskyy met with the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and his Belgian counterpart Alexander de Croo.

At a joint press conference following their meeting, Zelenskyy urged Nato to issue a “very clear message” that Ukraine will admitted into the military alliance once the war is over.

“We are realistic, we know we will not be in Nato during the war,” he said. “But we want a very clear message that we will be in NATO after the war.” EFE


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