Putin’s Arrest Warrant Will Only Prolong The War In Ukraine, Says Serbia’s President
According to Serbia’s president, issuing a global arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin will have unfavorable effects and only serve to prolong the conflict in Ukraine.
On Friday, the Russian president was given a warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) charged Mr. Putin with personal accountability for the kidnappings of children from Ukraine during Russia’s extensive invasion of its neighbor, which began about 13 months ago.
Aleksandar Vucic, the populist president of Serbia who had previously bragged about his close friendship with the Russian president, criticized the court’s ruling.
“I think issuing an arrest warrant for Putin, not to go into legal matters, will have bad political consequences and it says that there is a great reluctance to talk about peace (and) about truce” in Ukraine, Mr. Vucic told reporters.
“My question is now that you have accused him of the biggest war crimes, who are you going to talk to now?” Mr Vucic said.
“Do you really think that it is possible to defeat Russia in a month, three months or a year?” he asked, adding: “There is no doubt that the goal of those who did this is to make it difficult for Putin to communicate, so that everyone who talks to him is aware that he is accused of war crimes.”
When asked if Mr. Putin would face detention if he visited Serbia, Mr. Vucic responded that it was “a ridiculous question, because it is apparent that Putin has nowhere to go as long as the situation (in Ukraine) continues.”
Serbia, the only European country that has resisted joining the international sanctions against Moscow, has maintained close ties to Russia despite applying to join the EU.
Mr. Vucic was a high-ranking official in an ultra-nationalist party whose leader Vojislav Seselj and several other members eventually found themselves in the international war crimes court while being tried for crimes they committed during the wars in the 1990s. Mr. Vucic was a fierce opponent of international war crimes courts.
When Serb troops were accused of committing different war crimes against Kosovo Albanian separatists during the war in Kosovo in the late 1990s, Mr. Vucic served as media minister in the cabinet of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Indicted for war crimes, Mr. Milosevic was taken into custody in Serbia in 2001. Before his prosecution on the crimes committed by Serbian troops during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s concluded, he passed away at the international war crimes court in The Hague in 2006.