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‘The children have been kidnapped’: San Diego woman from Ukraine says Putin’s arrest warrant a huge deal

International Relations professor says Putin will likely escape accountability for years
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Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 21:11:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Tatiana Olifir was paying close attention to the news Friday when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrantfor Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The San Diego woman was born in Ukraine and keeps in touch with friends and distant relatives in the country.

“It’s my country. My soul is there and I’m attached to my friends and to my country,” Olifir says.

She called the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin "a huge deal."

“These parents never see those children again. They basically — the children have been kidnapped,” she says.

The court alleges Putin is responsible for war crimes by deporting children to Russia.

Ukraine's human rights chief has said over 16,000 children have been deported.

Russia has claimed the children don't have parents, but an investigation by the Associated Press found these kids were brought to Russia without their parent’s consent.

It’s the first time the ICC has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

“This is a first. We haven’t had as powerful a leader brought to war crimes tribunal since Nuremberg,” said University of San Diego professor Ronald Niezen.

Niezen wrote a novel about the ICC. He doubts the arrest warrant would bring Putin to justice.

“As long as he’s head of state, he won’t be brought to The Hague, and there won’t be a trial. But he won’t be able to travel freely," Niezen explained. "Every state that receives him to which he travels will have an obligation in international law to arrest him and send him to The Hague.”

The ICC has previously failed to bring alleged war criminals to justice.

In 2009, it issued an arrest warrant for the former president of Sudan. Omar Hassan al-Bashir is still at large.