A former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin would mean declaration of war on the country.
His statement comes Thursday, March 23 after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for Putin.
Last week, the ICC issued an arrest warrant, accusing Putin of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. The ICC said there are reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility.
Russian officials deny war crimes in Ukraine and say the West has ignored what it says are Ukrainian war crimes.
Dmitry Medvedev told Russian media that the ICC, which countries including Russia, China and the United States do not recognize, was a “legal nonentity” that had never done anything significant.
Any attempt to detain Putin, though, would be a declaration of war, said Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council.
“Let’s imagine – obviously this situation which will never be realised – but nevertheless lets imagine that it was realised: The current head of the nuclear state went to a territory, say Germany, and was arrested,” Medvedev said.
“What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation,” he said in a video posted on Telegram.
“And in that case, all our assets – all our missiles et cetera – would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.”
Medvedev says the ICC arrest warrant is an outrageously partisan decision, and is meaningless with respect to Russia.
Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has triggered the deadliest European conflict since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Medvedev said relations between Russia and the US were probably at the worst point ever.
“Every day’s delivery of foreign weapons to Ukraine brings closer the nuclear apocalypse,” Medvedev said.
After the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, he said, the West had considered itself the rulers of Russia but Putin had put an end to that.
“They were very offended,” Medvedev said, adding that the West disliked the independence of Russia and China.
“Ukraine is part of Russia,” Medvedev said, adding that almost all of modern-day Ukraine had been part of the Russian empire. Russia recognised Ukraine’s post-1991 sovereignty and borders in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
“I believe that sooner or later the situation will stabilise and communications will resume, but I sincerely hope that by that time a significant part of those people (Western leaders) will have retired and some will be dead,” he said.