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ICC judges issued arrest warrants against Russian Commander of the Long-Range Aviation and Commander of the Black Sea Fleet

Russians Sergei Kobylash and Viktor Sokolov are accused of war crimes of directing attacks at civilian objects, causing excessive incidental harm to civilians in Ukraine from at least October 10, 2022, until at least March 9, 2023. The following statement was published on the official website of the International Criminal Court on March 5, 2024.

Photo: International Criminal Court

“There are reasonable grounds to believe they bear individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes for having committed the acts jointly and/or through others, ordering the commission of the crimes, and/or for their failure to exercise proper control over the forces under their command,” stated the International Criminal Court in its press release.

In particular, Russian Commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force Sergei Kobylash and Russian Commander of the Black Sea Fleet Viktor Sokolov are accused of missile strikes carried out by Russian forces under their command against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure from at least October 10, 2022, until at least March 9, 2023. During this time, Russia committed an alleged campaign of strikes against numerous electric power plants and substations in different regions of Ukraine.

Read more: Ukraine has withstood months of Russian energy terror

In addition, in the course of Russian intentional missile terror, strikes were directed against civilian objects, and the ICC statement notes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects bear responsibility for “intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health” to Ukrainians.

According to the International Criminal Court, the content of the warrants is issued ‘secret’ to protect witnesses and safeguard the investigations. At the same time, the names of the suspects, and the crimes for which the warrants are issued, are decided to be made public, as Russia continues to commit such war crimes.

“Today, the International Criminal Court has taken another step – arrest warrants have been issued for two more representatives of the Russian leadership. This time – military leadership. They have carried out and are carrying out a terrorist campaign against our state and people, targeting our energy sector and civilian infrastructure (…) Russian murderers will be held accountable – there is no doubt about it,” commented President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his evening video address.

The following arrest warrants are not the first ones issued by ICC against Russian representatives for their war crimes against Ukraine. On March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mariia Lvova-Belova, the Russian officials allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia. In its statement, the ICC wrote that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility” as the leader of Russia for the crimes committed against Ukrainian children.