The high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with arrest on Monday in Brussels.
On Friday, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against the Russian president and the Russian presidential commissioner for children’s rights in relation to war in Ukraine.
The move was welcomed by the West, while Moscow deemed it “null and without effect”.
“If President Putin goes in one of the more than 130 countries that have signed this international treaty (the International Criminal Court), should be arrested immediately,” Borrell said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet his Russian counterpart Putin on Monday in Moscow, in a political boost for the Russian president. Xi’s government has not provided details on what the Chinese president hopes to achieve with his visit.
Xi and Putin declared their “friendship without borders” before the February 2022 attack on Ukraine, but China has tried to present itself as neutral in the conflict.
China sees Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy and as a partner in opposing what both sides see as US hegemony in international affairs.
Russia on Monday announced the opening of a criminal investigation against the prosecutor and three judges of the International Criminal Court, just days after the court issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Putin for “war crimes”. in Ukraine.
The Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement that these judges, including ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, “issued illegal decisions aimed at arresting the president of the Russian Federation and the commissioner for children’s rights,” adding, “A criminal investigation has been opened” .
Against this backdrop, the Kremlin said on Monday that the ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant against Putin reveals “clear hostility” against Moscow and against the Russian president personally.