Warrants target Russian officials over Ukraine attacks

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russia's former defence minister and its military chief of staff for attacking civilian targets in Ukraine.

The court accuses former defence minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov of war crimes and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts.

The court said warrants were issued because judges considered there were reasonable grounds to believe that the men are responsible for "missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure" from October 10, 2022, until at least March 9, 2023.

"During this time frame, a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and substations were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine," the court said in a statement on Tuesday.

There is no immediate likelihood of either suspect being detained.

Russia is not a member of the global court, does not recognise its jurisdiction and refuses to hand over suspects.

In 2023, the court also issued a warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

Putin replaced Shoigu as defence minister in a cabinet shake-up in May as he began his fifth term as president.

He appointed Shoigu as secretary of Russia's Security Council, the Kremlin said.