President Joe Biden said Friday that the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin was “justified” as the country continued to launch widespread attacks in Ukraine.
The ICC on Friday issued the arrest warrant against Putin and the Russian Presidential Commissioner for the Rights of Children, accusing them of war crimes and involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia. The move means that if Putin sets foot in any of the court’s 123 member states, that state is obliged to arrest him. The US is not one of the member states that recognize the ICC.
“I think it’s justified,” Biden said in reference to the order, according to Reuters and The Hill. He noted that the order is not recognized by the US, but Putin “clearly committed war crimes,” Biden added.
Meanwhile, Russian forces launched 34 airstrikes, one missile attack and 57 anti-aircraft fire over 24 hours, Ukrainian military officials said Saturday morning.
- Falling debris in southern Kherson damaged seven homes and a kindergarten on Friday night.
- One person was killed and three injured when 11 towns and villages in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province were shelled on Friday, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the province’s regional governor.
- Homes were damaged and a catering establishment was destroyed when Russian missiles slammed into a residential area in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia on Friday night. No casualties were reported.
- Ukrainian Air Force officials said it had shot down 11 of 16 Russian drones on Friday night during strikes in central, western and eastern parts of the country.
- A grain deal meant to ease rising global food prices was extended on Saturday. This is reported by Turkish state media. The United Nations humanitarian chief called for an extension on Friday as the deal approached. The Russian UN ambassador said Moscow would extend the deal, but only for 60 days. The deal will allow Ukraine, one of the world’s most important granaries, to export grain from three of its Black Sea ports.
- The head of Russia’s private military group Wagner announced on Telegram on Saturday that it plans to recruit about 30,000 new fighters by mid-May.
- British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian plane flying near Estonian airspace on Friday, the British Royal Air Force reported. It is the second time they have intercepted a Russian plane off the coast of Estonia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Russia
Chinese President Xi Jinping is flying to Moscow next week to meet Putin in what appears to be a statement of support for the Russian president. Xi’s visit is expected to take place from Monday to Wednesday.
China has previously refused to condemn Russia for the war in Ukraine, but has denounced Western sanctions against the country and accused NATO and the US of provoking Putin.
The Biden administration has warned against China pushing for a unilateral peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine celebrates nine years after annexing Crimea
Ukraine celebrated the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea on Saturday by vowing to regain all Ukrainian territories occupied by Moscow.
“For nine years in a row, the Crimean peninsula has suffered under the criminal regime of the Kremlin, which has turned it into a military outpost, a zone of lack of freedom and intimidation, aggression and terror against anyone and everyone who has found the courage to take their resist and defend democratic rights and values,” Ukraine’s foreign ministry said in a statement, according to CNN.
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 in a move that has been labeled illegal by much of the world.
Emine Dzheppar, first deputy foreign minister in Ukraine, said: “It is our duty to bring freedom back to the peninsula.” in a Twitter statement.
International leaders, including in the UK, Finland And Sweden, also denounced Ukraine’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula and reaffirmed its support for the country. Meanwhile, Putin visited Crimea on Saturday to celebrate the birthday.
Contributions: The Associated Press
Contact Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.