March 17 (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine, in a move that caused outrage in the Kremlin.
* Putin is only the third serving president to have been issued an ICC arrest warrant, after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.
* The move obligates the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.
* It provoked a furious reaction in Moscow, ranging from dismissal of the court’s jurisdiction to vows to protect Putin from arrest.
* The Kremlin said the warrant was outrageous, but meaningless with respect to Russia.
* The French government said “no-one should escape justice,” as it reacted to the ICC decision.
* Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during the invasion, which it calls a special military operation.
* Turkey’s parliament will start ratifying Finland’s accession to NATO, lifting the biggest remaining hurdle to enlarging the Western defense alliance as war rages in Ukraine, though he held off approving Sweden’s bid.
* The United States welcomed Erdogan’s announcement, and encouraged Turkey to quickly ratify Sweden’s accession into the military alliance as well.
* Sweden remains confident will join NATO, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said.
* In eastern Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces continued to withstand Russian assaults on the now-ruined city of Bakhmut. Reuters reporters roughly 1.5 km (1 mile) from the front lines could hear the constant boom of artillery and the crackle of small arms fire.
* A commander of Ukrainian ground forces said Russian forces were trying to break through Ukrainian defenses in several directions in an attempt to fully encircle the small eastern city of Bakhmut.