Russia Escalates Threats on Zelensky

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Russia has escalated its war against Zelensky, officially putting an arrest warrant out for him. Zelensky is accused of war crimes under Russian law, but Ukraine will obviously not extradite its president.

Russia has already called on Ukrainians to overthrow Zelensky, but to no avail. Russia is seen as the aggressor by Ukrainians, and have rallied to their president. The Politico reports:

The list is an online database of those the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs accuses of being criminals. Russia reportedly said the Ukrainian leader was wanted “under an article of the criminal code” but did not provide further details.

Moscow has sought to assassinate the Ukrainian president since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow Zelenskyy. 

Russia’s President already has a warrant out of the International Criminal Court. Putin has had to change international travel to prevent arrest or an international crisis. Reuters continues:

“We would like to remind you that unlike the worthless Russian announcements, an International Criminal Court warrant for the arrest of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on suspicion of war crimes is quite real, and subject to implementation in 123 countries,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the Russian announcement was “evidence of the desperation of the Russian state machine and propaganda, which can think of no other way to attract attention”.

Ultimately, these are legal fictions that can only be enforced by arms, though they can still be powerful. Since 1945, leaders of defeated nations are routinely sentenced as war criminals by the victors. With this all or nothing approach, we can expect the conflict in Ukraine to continue for a while.

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