(NewsReady.com) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has largely been persona non grata since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine last February. In the year since, the war has waged on, with Ukraine holding on and beating back Russian troops, even as the invading forces have committed serious atrocities. Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest for his country’s actions in allegedly deporting Ukrainian children to Russia. Now, with a once ally looking to move towards the Rome Statute, which would put it under the ICC’s jurisdiction, it has issued a warning.
Armenia has long been a Russian ally, but unlike other countries that align with Moscow, its relationship has become fractured since the invasion. Gagik Melkonyan, a deputy of the Civil Contract party, said that should Putin visit his country, and Armenia joins the Rome Statute, he should be arrested, according to Factor.am.
“Armenia warns Vladimir Putin he will be arrested for war crimes if he visits Armenia," https://t.co/T3BkuxblLY
— Hidde Bouwmeester (@H_Bouwmeester) March 29, 2023
Melkonyan also said that Russia doesn’t see Armenia as an independent nation, but Armenia does, and it must do what is best for itself.
Putin, however, is not one to be deterred. He said there will be “extremely negative consequences” for the relationship between the two nations should Armenia align with the ICC’s request. Russia currently has a military base and peacekeeping troops in the country.
The Russian president’s warning likely comes because, despite the Kremlin not recognizing the ICC as a legitimate court, it can still affect Putin’s travel plans. If the country he visits subscribes to the Rome Statute, authorities have the obligation to arrest him. Ireland, Germany, and Austria are just a few countries that have said they will honor the warrant.
According to The Daily Beast, the US intelligence community has highlighted that even close allies of Russia — India and China — were surprised and continue to express concern over Putin’s actions.
For now, it appears Putin has no plans to travel to Armenia, but South Africa and Turkey may be on his itinerary. Turkey isn’t a state party of the Rome Statute, but South Africa is.
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