Zelensky accuses Russia of 6,000 war crimes in April alone
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded Russia answer for thousands of ‘crimes of aggression’.
The Ukrainian leader has made a surprise visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the Netherlands, which has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a speech, President Zelensky said there were 6,139 war crimes by Russia in this April alone, leading to the death of 207 Ukrainian civilians, including 11 children.
He also called for the creation of a war crimes tribunal that could see Putin himself forced to explain atrocities carried out at the hands of the Kremlin.
‘We all want to see a different Vladimir here in the Hague, the one who deserves to be sanctioned for his criminal actions here, in the capital of international law’, President Zelensky continued.
He added that war would eventually be won by ‘force of arms’ and thanked the Netherlands for weapons supplied to Ukraine so far.
In his speech, President Zelensky also paid tribute to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down in Russian forces in 2014.
There had been 196 Dutch nationals on the flight.
A minute of silence was then held for all those who have died as a result of Russian ‘terror’.
Dressed in his standard khaki-coloured jumper, President Zelensky said: ‘We cannot stop wars of aggression, but can defeat aggression as a criminal idea that originates in the mindset of someone who is used to impunity.
‘If you look at any war of aggression, they all have one thing in common – the perpetrator of the war did not believe they would have to stand to answer for what they did.’
His visit to The Hague, which hosts the ICC and the United Nations’ top judicial organ, the International Court of Justice, came a day after he denied that Ukrainian forces were responsible for what the Kremlin called an attempt to assassinate Putin in a drone attack.
On a visit to Helsinki on Wednesday, Zelensky told reporters: ‘We didn’t attack Putin. We leave it to (the) tribunal.’
While the leader’s visit to the ICC was not officially confirmed, the court’s staff on Thursday raised a Ukrainian flag next to its own flag outside the building.
Judges announced last month announced they found ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights were responsible for the unlawful deportation and unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
Prosecutor Karim Khan has made repeated visits to Ukraine and is setting up an office in Kyiv to facilitate his ongoing investigations in the country.
The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of the Ukrainian war effort since Russia’s invasion last year.
Among military equipment Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government has promised are 14 modern Leopard 2 tanks it is buying together with Denmark.
They are expected to be delivered next year.
Among other military hardware, it also sent two Patriot air defense missile systems and promised two naval minehunter ships as well as sending military forensic experts to assist war crime investigations.
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