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Germany has announced it will have to arrest Russian president Vladimir Putin if he enters German territory and if the International Criminal Court asks contracting states for enforcement, the country’s Justice Minister Marco Buschmann has said.

On March 17, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s children’s rights commissioner overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children. It made Putin the third incumbent state leader to be issued an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

The ICC’s decision obligates 123 countries that are ICC members to arrest Putin and send him to The Hague if he enters their territory.

According to a statement put out 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. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the actual number might be much higher.

Russian forces have unlawfully transferred or deported thousands of Ukrainian civilians to Russia, violating the Geneva Conventions.

Putin speaks fluent German and worked in the country as a KGB agent surfing the Soviet Union era.

“I expect the ICC to quickly approach Interpol and the contracting states and ask them for enforcement,” Buschmann said according to German magazine, Bild

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