Serbian President Criticizes ICC Arrest Warrant for Putin
Serbian President Criticizes ICC Arrest Warrant for Putin. PHOTOS/TASS
BELGRADE – Issuing an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin will have negative consequences and will only prolong the war in Ukraine. This was stated by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, Sunday (19/3/2023).
The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the Russian leader on Friday (17/3/2023), accusing him of war crimes. The ICC accuses Putin of bearing personal responsibility for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine during Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbors that began nearly 13 months ago.
Vucic, who has in the past bragged about his personal ties to the Russian leader, criticized the international tribunal’s decision.
“I think issuing an arrest warrant for Putin, not to get into legal trouble, will have disastrous political consequences and say that there is great reluctance to talk about peace (and) about a ceasefire” in Ukraine, Vucic told reporters in Belgrade.
“My question is now that you have accused him of committing the greatest war crimes, who are you going to talk to now?” continued Vucic, as quoted from AP.
“Do you really think that Russia can be defeated in a month, three months or a year?” he asked. “There is no doubt that the aim of those who did this was to make it difficult for Putin’s communications, so that everyone who spoke to him was aware that he was being accused of war crimes,” he said.
Asked whether Putin would be arrested if he came to Serbia, Vucic said that was a pointless question, because clearly as long as the conflict (in Ukraine) continues, Putin has nowhere to go.
Although Serbia seeks EU membership, it maintains close ties with Russia and is the only European country that has refused to join international sanctions against Moscow.
Vucic, a staunch opponent of the international war crimes tribunal, is a top official of the ultranationalist party whose leader Vojislav Seselj and several other members ended up in international war crimes tribunals for trials for crimes they committed during the war in the 1990s.
In the late 1990s, Vucic became information minister in the government of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic during the war in Kosovo, in which Serbian troops were accused of numerous war crimes committed against Kosovo Albanian separatists.