Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to establish a special tribunal to prosecute his Kremlin counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for war crimes during an official visit on May 4 to The Hague where the judicial entity is headquartered in the Netherlands.

“A year ago, I said that this war cannot be forgiven – none of the crimes committed by Russia. I said that The Hague knew exactly – how to bring all Russian murderers to justice,” he told the Dutch legislature.

Reuters news agency reported that Ukraine’s second war-time president said that Putin “deserves to be sentenced for criminal actions.”

The ICC issued an arrest warrant in March for the Kremlin dictator over the abduction and forcible deportation of Ukrainian children from occupied territories that include the regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.

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Zelensky’s northern European trip also included signing a joint agreement with the heads of the governments of the Netherlands – Mark Rutte – and Alexander De Croo of Belgium for additional security assistance and future accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).

Sixteen NATO member states signed it as well and it includes a proclamation to hold Russia accountable for its war-mongering aggressions toward Ukraine.

Lithuania is expected to host the next NATO summit in July with Ukraine being high on the agenda, including talks on security guarantees from Russia.

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Meanwhile, Russia appears to have pivoted toward a defensive posture along the 900-kilometer frontline in Ukraine where it partially occupies the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Prominent open-source intelligence group, War Mapper, said that in April, Russia lost about 25 square kilometers of the territory it had previously occupied.

This is due to minimal Russian advances and Ukraine entering areas in the south previously considered to be ‘grey zones,’”, the OSINT group said on May 2.

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Speaking on May 4 to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that “Russian forces are likely unable to conduct a ‘significant offensive’” this year due to shortages in weaponry and manpower.

“Haines stated that Putin has ‘probably’ reduced his short-term goals in Ukraine to consolidate control over occupied territories and is unlikely to consider negotiations with Ukraine,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in a daily assessment of the Russo-Ukrainian War.

 

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