Armenia’s ruling party has warned that the country will have no choice but to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he comes to Armenia.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) earlier this month issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, specifically his alleged involvement in the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. But the ICC does not have the power to enforce its warrants, and since Russia does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, much of its enforcement will depend on the willingness of other countries to step in if Putin travels.
“If Putin comes to Armenia, he should be arrested… It is better for Putin to stay in his country,” Gagik Melkonyan, deputy of the Armenian National Assembly, said this week, according to a Moscow times Translation of an interview with Factor.am. “If we enter into these agreements, we must fulfill our commitments. Let Russia solve its problems with Ukraine.”
The decision by Armenia’s ruling party, which is part of a Russian-led collective defense organization, stands in stark contrast to other Kremlin allies, who have not shirked loyalty to Moscow. Hungary, which has close ties with Russia, announced last week that it would not execute the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin.
Though Armenia is technically a Russian ally — as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — Armenia’s decision is just the latest indication that the country is ready to take matters into its own hands and hold Putin accountable pull. Just last week, Armenia took steps that will pave the way for ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.
“If we enter into these agreements, we must fulfill our obligations,” Melkonyan said.
According to a Russian Foreign Ministry source, the Kremlin has reprimanded Armenia for the idea of joining the Rome Statute.
“Moscow regards official Yerevan’s plans to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as totally unacceptable in light of the ICC’s recent illegal and void ‘arrest warrants’ against the Russian leadership,” the source said earlier this week. according to TASS.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that if it continues, there would be “extremely negative” consequences for Armenia.
But Armenia is not alone, and other countries are joining forces in plans to arrest Putin. Ireland, Croatia, Austria and Germany have each pledged to enforce the arrest warrant.
The decision in Armenia suggests that more than a year into the conflict, Russia’s allies are becoming more willing by the day to question Moscow’s judgment on the war in Ukraine.
Indian officials have expressed concern about Putin’s war in Ukraine, pushing against conflict and the use of nuclear weapons in the war. Chinese President Xi Jinping was also caught off guard by Putin’s invasion, according to US intelligence, and was dismayed at the way he was carrying it out.