ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin, Russia’s Bakhmut offensives ‘lowest since January’

Key developments on March 17:

As Russia’s crimes against Ukraine become more visible, on March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The statement reads, “Vladimir Putin, born on Oct. 7, 1952, President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

This decision means that Putin and Lvova-Belova can now be arrested in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute.

According to the ICC’s statement, Putin “bears individual criminal responsibility” as the leader of Russia for the crimes committed against Ukrainian children.

Russia has allegedly deported almost 2,000 children from Ukraine since Jan. 1, according to the U.S. ambassador to OSCE Michael Carpenter.

Additionally, more than 16,000 children were forcibly removed from Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion, the National Information Bureau wrote.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, “decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal standpoint,” Russian independent media Meduza reported.

17 MiGs

Following the March 16 news stating that Poland will provide Ukraine with the first four MIG-29 fighter jets within the coming days, the Slovak government has approved supplying Ukraine with 13 MiG-29 fighter jets.

“Promises must be kept, and when (President Volodymyr) Zelensky asked for more weapons, including fighter jets, I said we’ll do our best. Glad others (are) doing the same,” Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said

on March 17.

In addition to jets, Slovakia will also send “part of the Kub anti-aircraft system,” Heger said at a news conference, as cited by Slovak media outlet Aktuality.

At the same time, Ukraine’s allies have so far declined to provide Western aircraft like the American-manufactured F-16.

Furthermore, on March 16, the White House stated that Poland’s recent commitment to provide MiG-29s will not influence the U.S. to send F-16s.

“It doesn’t change our calculus with respect to F-16s,” said U.S. National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby, as quoted by CNN.

On March 16, Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported that Belgium will hand over 240 Volvo military trucks to Ukraine, with the first batch to be sent as early as next week.

The trucks will be used to transport troops and equipment to the eastern front line.

Meanwhile, the European Union will provide Ukraine with 1.5 billion euros ($1.59 billion) as the second tranche of an 18 billion ($19 billion) euro macro-financial assistance package, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said

on March 17.

The payment is expected to be made next week.

Russian attacks

Russian attacks were reported in eight Ukrainian regions over the past 24 hours.

Local authorities said that two people were killed and nine were wounded.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported in his morning update on March 17 that two civilians were killed and eight were injured in the Donetsk Oblast.

Russia hit 13 settlements and three communities in the region, damaging almost 30 houses, five high-rises, a school, an enterprise, and a penal institution, said Kyrylenko. 

Kherson Oblast was struck 76 times, with Russia firing 413 projectiles on the oblast’s settlements, according to the Kherson Oblast Military Administration.

The attacks reportedly injured one and caused damage to a medical facility, houses, and apartment buildings in the city of Kherson.

According to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov, Russian troops hit Kupiansk, Chuhuiv, and Kharkiv, damaging houses and outbuildings.

Zaporizhia, Chernihiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, and Luhansk oblasts were also shelled by Russian forces, causing damage to civilian infrastructure and households. No casualties were reported in those regions.