Kremlin says it is very curious that U.S. appears ready to sanction the ICC

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was very curious that the United States appeared ready to use sanctions against the International Criminal Court whose prosecutor requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement issued after more than seven months of war in Gaza that he had reasonable grounds to believe the five men "bear criminal responsibility" for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the legal step "outrageous", while Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it could jeopardize negotiations on a hostage deal and ceasefire.

Some U.S. lawmakers called for the United States to impose sanctions on the court. In 2020, the United States imposed sanctions an ICC prosecutor.

"In general, the situation is more than curious in terms of the U.S. attitude and willingness to use sanctions methods even against the ICC," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

In March last year, the ICC issued warrants for the arrest of President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges.

Russia says the warrant against Putin is a meaningless attempt by the West to soil Russia's reputation and denies war crimes in Ukraine. Ukraine says Russia committed war crimes. Russia says the West has ignored Ukraine's crimes, a charge denied by Kyiv.

Biden said last year that the ICC decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin was justified. The United States has shared details of alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine with the ICC.

Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, so Moscow does not recognise the court's jurisdiction.

"We are not parties to the relevant statute, therefore, we do not recognise the jurisdiction of the court," Peskov said.

(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)