Russia lampooned the International Criminal Court's move to issue an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin on Friday, saying the verdict had 'no meaning' for Moscow. former President and staunch Putin ally Dmityry Medvedev said the arrest warrant was like 'toilet paper'.
The Russian stance is that the ICC's order is not binding on Russia as it is not a member of the international body. "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 said.
Earlier, the ICC issued a warrant against Putin alleging that Russia had forcibly deported Ukrainian children from the war zones, and that it was an act of war crime. Moscow said it brought thousands of children into the Russian territories from war-torn Ukrainian regions as part of a humanitarian mission. Russia says the children brought to Russia were those orphaned in the war or who were left abandoned in conflict zones.
The Russian foreign ministry said the international body's move was void as it doe snot have mandate and jurisdiction to issue such a warrant.
"Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it ... Russia does not cooperate with this body and possible 'recipes' for arrest coming from the international court will be legally void as far as we are concerned," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Meanwhile, the top Russian investigation panel, the Investigative Committee, said it would launch a probe into the ICC warrant as such. The probe will unravel 'specific individuals from among the ICC judges who made the obviously illegal decisions' the panel said, according to AFP news agency.
On Russian TV, sentiment against the verdict ran high, with one presenter saying that Russia will definitely unleash deadly military power against whoever that tries to arrest the President. "I would like to see the country that arrests Putin by the decision of the Hague. Some eight minutes after. Or however long the flight time will be to its capital," Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian state broadcaster RT, wrote on social media.