Vladimir Putin has authorized the creation of many more body doubles because of his extreme paranoia about being abducted and handed over to an international court, according to sources within the Kremin. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Putin and his associate Maria Lvova-Belova, also known as the “chief child catcher,” for their roles in deporting Ukrainian children to Russia during the ongoing invasion.
During a television appearance with Putin, Lvova-Belova, Russia’s “children’s commissioner,” proudly announced that she had personally adopted a 15-year-old boy from the razed Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
The 38-year-old mother of 23 received explicit approval from Putin for her actions during the broadcast last month.
This incident was the catalyst for the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for both of them on charges of war crimes.
A top Russian general is reported to have said: “Putin is terrified there is a plot to kidnap him and place him outside of Russia so he can be arrested on war crimes charges and made to face court.”
It comes after the Hague-based ICC said it was issuing the warrant for the arrest of the Russian leader over the alleged abduction and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The charges were immediately dismissed by the Kremlin – which does not recognise the ICC – as “legally void”.
This is the first time the global court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
The ICC said in a statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of [children] and that of unlawful transfer of [children] from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”
The move was immediately dismissed by Moscow — and welcomed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough.
Its practical implications, however, could be limited as the chances of Putin facing trial at the ICC are highly unlikely because Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.
But the moral condemnation will likely stain the Russian leader for the rest of his life — and in the more immediate future whenever he seeks to attend an international summit in a nation bound to arrest him.
Adil Ahmad Haque, an expert in international law and armed conflict at Rutgers University said: “So Putin might go to China, Syria, Iran, his … few allies, but he just won’t travel to the rest of the world and won’t travel to ICC member states who he believes would … arrest him.”
ICC President Piotr Hofmanski said in a video statement that while the ICC’s judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them.
The court has no police force of its own to do so.
The ICC can impose a maximum sentence of life imprisonment “when justified by the extreme gravity of the crime,” according to its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, that established it as a permanent court of last resort to prosecute political leaders and other key perpetrators of the world’s worst atrocities — war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Still, the chances of Putin or Lvova-Belova facing trial remain extremely remote, as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction — a position it vehemently reaffirmed Friday.