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Russia says attempts to arrest Putin under ICC warrant amount to ‘declaration of war’

A senior Russian official said on Thursday that an attempt to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin under the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant would amount to “declaring a war.”

Remarks by Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, came after the ICC issued Friday an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Speaking during an interview with users of the Russian social networking service VK, Medvedev questioned the competence of German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, who earlier said if Putin arrived in Germany, he would be arrested.

“He is a lawyer, isn’t he? Does he understand what this means? It is clear that this is a situation that will never happen, but nevertheless, let’s imagine that it happened. The current head of a nuclear state came to the territory of, say, Germany, and was arrested.

“What is it? It is a declaration of war to the Russian Federation. And already in this case, all our rockets and other weapons will fly to Bundestag (German parliament), to the chancellor’s office, and so on. Does he understand that this is a casus belli (cause of war), that this is a declaration of war, or did he study poorly?” Medvedev said.

In a separate statement on Telegram, Medvedev called issuing a warrant for Putin’s arrest a “collapse of international law.”

The biggest states, he said, did not join the ICC, and over the course of its existence, the court prosecuted “three dozen unknown individuals.”

“Sudan’s president spat on these (ICC) accusations and despite the military coup at home, he is not available for ‘justice.’ The rest are not worth mentioning at all. In other words, the effectiveness of its (ICC) activities is zero,” Medvedev said.

A state and its leaders may be brought to a court only when a country almost lost its sovereignty or lost a war and capitulated, he argued.

Medvedev added that the US “killed the already almost zero credibility of the court” when Washington made it stop investigating American “crimes” committed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Russian official believes that the warrant was issued at Washington’s request and that the consequences will be that no one will go to international courts.

“The gloomy sunset of the entire system of international relations is coming. Trust is exhausted,” Medvedev said.

He also said “it is quite possible” to imagine a strike of a hypersonic carrier over the North Sea from a Russian ship to the Hague courthouse.

“The court is just a wretched international organization, not the population of a NATO country. Therefore, they will not start a war. They’ll be afraid. And no one will regret it. So, citizens of the judge, look carefully at the sky,” he threatened.

Asked if a danger of a nuclear conflict has passed, Medvedev said it has instead increased.

“Everyday supply of foreign weapons to Ukraine ultimately brings this nuclear apocalypse closer,” he stressed.

According to Medvedev, the West underestimated Russia’s “determination” to defend its interests and “consequences are much more complicated” than they could have been if Russia had been provided with the security guarantees that it requested in December last year.

Medvedev believes that the lack of understanding between Russia and the West was partly caused by a “catastrophic decline in competence” of EU leaders.

“I’m going from the fact that sooner or later the situation will stabilize and communication will be restored. But I sincerely hope that by that time a significant part of these characters (current EU officials) will retire, and some will go to a better world,” he said.

Medvedev argued that if Ukraine joined NATO, the alliance would start a military operation against Russia.

According to him, Moscow tried to ask the West how they imagine Kyiv’s accession to NATO given that “Ukraine produces missiles and used to have its own nuclear weapons,” pointing out that Russia would get a neighbor “who is not only part of an unfriendly bloc but is also going to produce nuclear weapons.”

“Especially in conditions when we have a dispute over Crimea, we consider it our territory, they consider it their own. So, they join NATO and after that, under the umbrella of NATO, they begin a large-scale operation against our country – we could not accept this,” he stressed.

Medvedev said the Russian defense industry gained pace and plans to produce some 1,500 tanks this year.

He also said the development of combat drones is one of the tasks for the defense industry, adding that it may be realized in the coming months.

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