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Zelensky calls Putin arrest warrant 'historic', discusses frontline situation with military
President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his nightly address on March 17 that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was "historic" and there was a "real prospect" to see justice served.
The ICC issued arrest warrants on March 17 for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.
According to a statement put out by the ICC, there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin is directly responsible for overseeing the forced kidnapping and relocation of over 16,000 Ukrainian children since the start of the full-scale invasion. Zelensky acknowledged in his nightly address that the actual number may be much higher.
The U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Michael Carpenter said that Russia has relocated almost 2,000 children from Ukraine since Jan. 1.
"The aggressor's state policy is evident in its decisions to separate children from their families, deprive them of contact with relatives, hide them in Russian territory, and scatter them in remote regions. These actions represent a grave evil committed by the state," Zelensky said in his address.
According to Zelensky, he also met with military officials and intelligence to discuss the situation on the frontline. The main focus of their conversation was the ongoing fighting in Avdiivka, Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Mariinka, and Bilohorivka in Donbas, as well as how to support soldiers with more weapons and protection.
Zelensky thanked those on the frontline "who maintain a real defense with their endurance and courage."