(CNN) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, Wednesday, that “any European country that is a member of the International Criminal Court should arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he visits them.”
Blinken added, in response to a question from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham at a hearing in the US Senate: “I think that any person who is a member of the Court and has obligations that must be fulfilled.”
The US minister did not say whether his country would hand over the Russian president to the International Criminal Court if he arrived, indicating that the United States is not a member of the court, and replied: “I don’t think he has any plans to travel here soon.”
Putin has rarely left Russia in recent years, and has not traveled to the United States since 2015.
On Friday, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Putin and the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova Belova, for their role in a scheme to forcibly deport Ukrainian children to Russia.
The court does not conduct trials in absentia, so the Russian authorities would have to extradite Putin or detain him outside Russia.
In turn, Moscow rejected the arrest warrant, saying that the court “is meaningless for Russia, including from a legal point of view.”
“Russia is not a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and has no obligations under it,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“Russia does not cooperate with this body, and potential arrest warrants issued by the International Court of Justice would be legally invalid for us,” she added.
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