The Ukraine Crisis: Situation Update: #21

Foreign Policy Brief #177 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | March 28, 2023

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Vladimir Putin’s Arrest Warrant

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the alleged crime of overseeing the abduction of Ukrainian children. According to the ICC there is credible evidence of Ukrainian children being forcibly removed from their homes and being sent into Russia at the orders of President Putin. The warrant is the first to be issued by the ICC for crimes committed during the war in Ukraine. It is also one of the rare occasions where the court has issued a warrant for a sitting head of state, putting Putin in company of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Putin is unlikely to be handed over to the court anytime soon, Russia itself does not recognise the court’s jurisdiction. However, the Russian president will now face limits on his freedom of travel to the 123 countries that recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction as these are all places where he could be apprehended and handed over.

Putin and Xi Jinping Hold Talks

Photo taken from: Sputnik/Aleksey Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

Putin and Xi Jinping Hold Talks

Last week Chinese President Xi Jing Ping, now the first world leader to meet with Putin following his arrest warrant, flew to Moscow to hold talks that were set to deepen ties between the two countries. In growing conflict with the West and particularly the United States, the two have sought to present a united front. The timing of Xi’s visit was certainly a boost for Putin, just three days after the ICC accused him of war crimes it enabled him to show he still has the backing of a powerful ally who shares his opposition to the idea of a US dominated unipolar world. The summit itself produced 14 agreements on topics from soybeans to atomic energy, but also showed Russia’s possible openness to pursuing China’s version of peace talks. According to their joint statement both leaders called for the cessation of actions that increase tensions and prolong the war in Ukraine. But Putin said the plan could be put forward only when “they are ready in the West and Kyiv”. China’s plan does not explicitly call for Russia to leave Ukraine and Kyiv has made it repeatedly clear that a Russian withdrawal is a necessary precondition for it to engage in peace talks, meaning that it is still unlikely peace talks will occur anytime soon.

Poland to Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Photo taken from: Marques/Getty Images

Poland to Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Poland recently pledged it would send four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, the first NATO member to do so. Ukraine has been asking for fighter jets now for sometime in order to be able to better combat and repel Russian air attacks. Most of the destruction unleashed on Ukraine has come from air strikes by the Russian air force. NATO members have been hesitant to send heavy weaponry such as jets and tanks to Ukraine in order not to provoke Russia. Poland though has been one of the most vocal European nations against Russia, which is still seen by many in Poland’s political and diplomatic circles in a Cold War context. The biggest question will be if the move puts pressure on the rest of the NATO block to do the same, which was likely Poland’s intention to begin with.

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