The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for suspected war crimes, including allegations that Moscow abducted Ukrainian children forcibly.
The ICC also issued an arrest order for Maria Lvova-Belova, Putin's commissioner for children's rights.
The two are "supposedly guilty for the war crimes of unlawful expulsion of people (children) and unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation," according to a press release issued by the court on Friday.
The action by the criminal court at the Hague represented a historic milestone, asking the arrest of a sitting world leader—even as commentators admitted the prospects of arresting President Putin are small.
Furthermore, authorities in Moscow were eager to point out that Russia has never signed on as a participant to the ICC, dismissing the claims outright.
"Russia, just like a number of different countries, does not recognise the jurisdiction of this court and so from a legal point of view, the decisions of this court are void," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the decisions "have no meaning" for Russia as Russia is not a member of the ICC..
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the decision to issue an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin was historic. "This is an historic decision which will lead to historic accountability," he said in his nightly video address.
A study issued last month by Yale University academics and the US State Department accused Russia of running a systematic network of detention institutions for thousands of Ukrainian youngsters.
Russian officials have not disputed the entry of Ukrainian children in their nation, but they have described the children's facilities as part of a larger humanitarian initiative for abandoned, war-traumatized kids.