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Hungarian official says Budapest will not arrest Putin if he visits
Despite the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hungary would not detain Russian dictator Vladimir Putin if he entered the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said on March 23, cited by Reuters.
According to Gulyas, although Budapest signed and ratified the Rome Statute that created the ICC, it has no legal grounds to arrest Putin as the treaty was not incorporated into the Hungarian legal system.
Gulyas told reporters the Hungarian government "had not formed a stance" on the ICC's warrant for Putin's arrest.
"These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace, this is my personal subjective opinion," Gulyas added, as quoted by Reuters.
On March 21, Bloomberg reported, citing sources privy to the information, that Hungary had prevented European Union member states from releasing a joint statement on the ICC's arrest warrant.
Budapest has resisted several multilateral efforts to support Ukraine amid Russia's full-scale war. The Hungarian government has repeatedly criticized EU sanctions against Russia, citing their negative impact on the European economy.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant on March 17 for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia -- a move that President Volodymyr Zelensky called "historic."
All 123 countries that are members of the ICC and have ratified the Rome Status, which establishes crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the court, are now obliged to cooperate with the court's demand to arrest Putin.
Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 following criticism of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on March 22, according to CNN, that any European ICC member should arrest Putin in case of his visit. The United States itself is not a party to the court.