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ICC seeks arrest of two Russian generals over Ukraine attacks

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants on Tuesday for two Russian military generals believed to be involved in attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

The court is seeking the arrests of Lt. Gen. Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash — who served as Commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force around the time of the allegations — and Navy Adm. Viktor Nikolayevich Sokolov, who served as a commander of the Black Sea Fleet, the ICC announced Tuesday.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said Kobylash and Sokolov are allegedly responsible for “attacks on critical infrastructure,” which includes strikes against power plants and substations between Oct. 10, 2022, until at least March 9, 2023.

“My Office presented evidence that these strikes were directed against civilian objects, and for those installations that may have qualified as military objectives at the relevant time, the expected incidental civilian harm and damage would have been clearly excessive to the anticipated military advantage,” Khan said in a statement.

The two are accused of war crimes, including directing attacks against civilian objects, causing excessive harm or damage to civilians or civilian objects and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts, per the court.

“I have repeatedly emphasized that those responsible for actions that impact innocent civilians or protected objects must know that this conduct is bound by a set of rules reflected in international humanitarian law,” Khan wrote. “All wars have rules. Those rules bind all without exception.”

This marks the second time the court has publicly issued statements about arrest warrants related to Russia’s war with Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.

The global court last March issued war crime arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. The warrant against Putin marked one of the first war crime charges against the leader for since Russia’s February, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry at the time said the country does “not cooperate,” with the ICC and rejected its authority. The ICC argued last year it is able to bring charges against Russian officials as Ukraine has accepted its jurisdiction to investigate crimes carried out on Ukrainian territory by Russia.

The Russia-Ukraine war has lasted for just over two years since Moscow invaded Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month said an estimated 31,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war, far less than the estimates given by Putin, per The AP. Russia has not provided frequent casualty figures, though data from the Defense Ministry from January 2023 claimed more than 6,000 deaths, though U.S. and U.K reports say that number is much higher the news wire added.

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