The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The court alleges he is responsible for war crimes, and has focused its claims on the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
Russia is not a member of the ICC. It was unclear how the ICC planned to enforce the warrant.
In a statement, the ICC said it had reasonable grounds to believe Mr Putin committed the criminal acts directly and worked with others.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
The court also said Putin failed to use his presidential powers to stop the deportation of children.
The crimes were committed in Ukraine from 24 February 2022 – when Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
Moscow has denied the allegations and labelled the warrants as “outrageous”.
Earlier this week Reuters had reported that the court was expected to issue warrants, the first in its investigation into the Ukraine conflict.
Separately the court issued warrants for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges.
In the past, she has spoken openly of efforts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children taken to Russia.
Last September, Ms Lvova-Belova complained that some children removed from the city of Mariupol “spoke badly about the [Russian President], said awful things and sang the Ukrainian anthem.”
Ukrainian officials on Friday hailed the decision.
The world received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and henchmen will be held accountable,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said on social media.
“This is a historic decision for Ukraine and the entire system of international law,”
(Agencies; Picture Courtesy: Reuters)