Russia’s Medvedev says Putin’s arrest would be ‘declaration of war’

Top Russian official Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday said that any attempt to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin would be considered a “declaration of war” against the country amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. 

In a Telegram post, Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, called out the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, saying the ICC’s move added to a “colossal negative potential” in the already strained relationship between Russian and western countries. 

The ICC on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Putin and another Russian official over alleged war crimes in Ukraine since Russia began its full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022, issuing charges based on their alleged involvement in the abduction of thousands of children from Ukraine to Russia. 

“Our relations with the West are already worse than they have ever been in history,” the 57-year-old Russian official said in his Telegram post. 

Medvedev, who served as president of Russia from 2008 to 2012, also called out German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann in his video response. Buschmann said that Putin would be arrested on the ICC’s warrant if he visited Germany. 

“Let’s imagine – obviously this situation which will never be realised – but nevertheless lets imagine that it was realised: The current head of the nuclear state went to a territory, say Germany, and was arrested,” Medvedev said, according to Reuters

“What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation,” he added. “And in that case, all our assets – all our missiles et cetera – would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.”

Medvedev’s remarks come after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Putin in Moscow earlier this week. Government officials in the West largely viewed Xi’s visit to Moscow as China doubling down on its support for Russia in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

The U.S. and other world entities have expressed concern that China might arm Russia in the war, though China released a 12-point plan last month to bridge a cease-fire between the two countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tags China Dmitry Medvedev Dmitry Medvedev International Criminal Court Russia Russia-Ukraine war Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Xi Jinping

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