Sārts explained to the LETA agency that this time the reaction was quite different from the other times, that is, the response was very cautious, which can be interpreted as the regime’s awareness that it is potential high-risk information, which should try to be very controlled when it reaches the citizens of Russia.
“Television channels either did not mention this fact at all, or they played the comment of Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Kremlin. All this “buzz” about missiles [Krievijas eksprezidenta Dmitrijs Medvedeva draudi Hāgas tiesas namam ar raķetes triecienu] and so on, basically in “Telegram” format to those groups of people who are already actively following what is happening,” said Sarts.
In Sart’s view, the Kremlin does not have a clear strategy on how to act after such a decision of the ICC – it cannot be completely silent, but it cannot react strongly either, because it is afraid that people will increasingly understand the ICC’s approach against Putin.
“You can see that they have a very difficult and internally politically painful moment, which, as far as can be judged from the perspective of the information space and propaganda, causes concern as to how to manage it. At least at the moment, they have not found a real mechanism,” said Sarts.
Asked to assess the fact that Putin is being blamed for the deportation of the children, rather than other serious war crimes, Sarts conceded that this is the part of the investigation where there are provable causal relationships, largely because of Russia’s own propaganda, which has made all of Putin’s assignments to do with Ukraine for children, has been “beautifully filmed” and posted for public viewing. “This could mean that in other war crimes committed in Ukraine, the chain of causal relationships is currently more difficult to put together, but in this case, Russian propaganda itself brought at least part of the prosecutors’ argument to the plate,” said Sarts.
It has already been reported that the ICC has issued arrest warrants for the leader of the Russian regime Putin and children’s law enforcement officer Maria Lvova-Belova for the deportation of Ukrainian children.
Russia is not a member of the ICC and it is unclear how the ICC plans to enforce the warrant. Ukraine is also not a member of the ICC, but Kyiv has accepted the court’s jurisdiction and is cooperating with its prosecutor’s office.
There are 123 countries that are members of the Rome Statute of the ICC, including South American countries and about half of African countries, so they must formally take into account the warrants issued by the ICC. Among the countries that have not signed and ratified this statute are Belarus, India, China, Kazakhstan and Turkey. The United States and Russia signed this statute, but later withdrew their signature.