Russia issues ban on 500 Americans, warrant for ICC prosecutor

Karim Khan visited Ukraine four times in the year before the accusations against the Russian president were made public. Photograph: Reuters

Moscow has banned 500 Americans, including former president Barack Obama, and issued an arrest warrant for the International Criminal Court prosecutor who charged Russian President Vladimir Putin with war crimes.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Friday the entry ban on 500 Americans is in retaliation to the United States’ sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Washington should have learned a long time ago that not a single hostile step against Russia will be left unanswered,” the foreign ministry said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Aside from Obama, Russia’s ban list includes television hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers; CNN anchor Erin Burnett; and MSNBC presenters Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough.

Also blacklisted were senators, congressmen and members of think tanks “involved in the spread of Russophobic attitudes and fakes” and the heads of companies that “supply weapons to Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Karim Khan, the British prosecutor at the Hague-based ICC, is now wanted in Russia for issuing an arrest warrant against Putin in March, Al Jazeera reported citing reports by TASS news agency.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes, said in March that Khan was being probed for the criminal prosecution of a person known to be innocent “in reference to the war crime charges against Putin,” according to Al Jazeera.

The ICC charge against Putin stemmed from his alleged  unlawful deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Russia’s presidential commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, also was ordered arrested for the same charge as Putin’s.

Kyiv claimed that more than 19,000 Ukrainian children, including 4,000 orphans, have been deported to Russia since February 2022, Al Jazeera reported.

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