Lithuania has sent a strong message to Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry posted a photograph on Twitter on Friday, March 17, depicting a banner on a skyscraper in the country’s capital, Vilnius, reading “Putin, The Hague is waiting for you” in English.
Putin, the Hague is waiting for you! https://t.co/5GwHc7k4VW pic.twitter.com/ErDPkARZyp
— Lithuania MFA | #StandWithUkraine (@LithuaniaMFA) March 17, 2023
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis accompanied the photograph with a statement saying that “history is being written.” Landsbergis added that the arrest warrant for Putin for the deportation of Ukrainian children sets a new precedent. However, he stressed that the story will be complete only when all war crimes and crimes of aggression are investigated, and those responsible are held accountable.
The banner refers to the ICC’s decision on Friday to issue an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of being criminally responsible for the forced deportation of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Last year in March, the mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, spray-painted the same message, “Putin, The Hague is waiting for you”, on a street opposite the Russian embassy in the city.
The ICC is based in The Hague, Netherlands, and is a permanent international criminal court that investigates and prosecutes individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Putin is not expected to be apprehended or extradited to The Hague, as Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.
Nevertheless, Lithuania’s message is a clear statement that it will not tolerate actions that it perceives as crimes against humanity, and that it will support efforts to bring those responsible to justice.
It also underscores the ongoing tensions between Russia and Lithuania, which have been strained since Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.