Russian government officials are panicking over the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Vladimir Putin last month for alleged war crimes. Some current and former government employees spoke to The Moscow Times and said that the Kremlin organized a special meeting to discuss Russia's response. The charges against Putin include unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia in February last year. The ICC says the crimes were committed in Ukraine from February 24, 2022.
Russia formally condemned the action, but behind the scenes, there is a concern about the possible political ramifications. "This is essentially a call to overthrow the government in Russia," a parliamentary deputy from the ruling United Russia party told The Moscow Times.
The Russian President enjoys unchallenged power in his homeland, so there is no prospect of the Kremlin handing him over to the ICC. Till the time he is in Russia, Mr Putin faces no risk of being arrested. However, Putin could be detained if he leaves Russia, so he might have to restrict his travel. But, due to the international sanctions against him over Ukraine war, it is unlikely that he will show up in a country that would want to put him on trial.
The ICC arrest warrant, issued on March 17, targeted both Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Russian President's office.