Ukraine and the International Criminal Court on Thursday, Mar. 23, signed a deal for a field office to probe war crimes, days after the tribunal issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said the agreement for an ICC office in Ukraine was the "beginning of a new chapter" in Kyiv's cooperation with the court.

"This is just a start, a strong start," Kostin said at a signing ceremony in The Hague, according to an ICC statement.

"I'm convinced that we will not stop until all perpetrators of international crimes committed in Ukraine are brought to justice, independently of their political or military position."

ICC Registrar Peter Lewis said the court was grateful for Ukraine's help and "look(s) forward to strengthening our cooperation in the future".


Ukraine becomes the latest country to host an ICC field office after the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda; Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Georgia and Mali.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, saying he was allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine.

Russia said the warrant was "void", adding that it was not a member of the court.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned this week that attempts by any country to arrest Putin on the ICC warrant would be seen by Moscow as a "declaration of war".

He has also reportedly talked about targeting The Hague with a hypersonic missile.

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The 70-year-old, a key figure of the Nobel Prize-winning Memorial group, is the latest target of Kremlin repression, which has intensified since the offensive in Ukraine.

Russia has meanwhile opened a criminal investigation into ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and several other ICC judges.

The court had also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's presidential commissioner for children's rights.

On Wednesday, the ICC's legislative body said it regretted "threats" against the tribunal over its warrant.

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