The Ukrainian government’s top international prosecutor, Johann Soufi, stated this week that evidence gathered by Ukrainian authorities would be included in the case against Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian commissioner for children’s rights.
19FortyFive reports that the International Criminal Court issued an arrest order for Russian President Vladimir Putin for his role in the systematic abduction of Ukrainian children commencing with the onset of the Russian invasion.
More than a hundred new criminal charges have been initiated concerning the illegal transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia and Russian-occupied territory, authorities from the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office acknowledged this week.
Although the ICC has already gathered public documents to support the case against Lvova-Belova and Putin, Soufi confirmed that additional evidence is expected to be used as the case progresses. Parents whose children were forcibly removed from Ukraine and placed in Russian foster care or residential institutions may provide testimony.
First, the ICC must determine what crimes have been committed. Putin’s adoption decree and Lvova-Belova’s openness about the adoptions only strengthened their criminal responsibility.
The head presidential advisor for children’s rights in Ukraine reported in January that around 14,000 missing children had been located by foreign investigators. According to Dara Herasymchuk, since the battle broke out, the Russian military has killed 456 children and injured nearly 900.
In an interview with reporters this week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he had asked Pope Francis for help repatriating Ukrainian children from Russia at a meeting at the Vatican on Thursday.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine also made it known that he had invited the Pope to visit Ukraine.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for an end to hostilities during the crisis. Francis has also indicated a desire to travel to Russia and Ukraine to facilitate peace talks.
The Vatican has confirmed the Thursday talks had happened but has been cagey about what was said. During his trip, Prime Minister Shmyhal met with the Holy See’s foreign minister and secretary of state, as confirmed by a brief statement from the Vatican.