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Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy calls for ICC Russia probe

Zelenskyy wants all those involved in the war to be held accountable under international law

Zelenskyy wants all those involved in the war to be held accountable under international law

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for Russian leadership and all those involved in the Russian invasion of his country to be held responsible before an international court.

"We will dismantle this entire Russian genocidal system, from the cogs to the architects, and bring them to legal verdicts," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address. The comments followed a meeting with International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan in Kyiv on Tuesday.

While the Ukrainian president admitted this would not be an easy feat, he said "responding to Russian crimes in the face of this aggression exactly in terms of the rule of law and exactly with the power of an international court is what will serve as one of the guarantees of the long-term future security of both Ukrainians and other nations."

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia would inevitably have legal consequences for those who planned, approved and implemented it, Zelenskyy went on to say. According to him, not only those who executed plans but also "the top political and military leadership of the terrorist state" needed to be held accountable.

An investigation into the situation in Ukraine by the ICC is already underway. The court in The Hague looks at war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. However, as the Rome Statute is the legal basis for the court, it cannot take action against Russian leadership as neither Russia nor Ukraine are parties to the agreement.

For this reason, Zelenskyy pushed for a special tribunal to be set up at the UN General Assembly in September.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, March 1:

Finnish parliament to vote on NATO membership law

Finnish lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that could enable the country to join NATO in a bid to respond to Europe's altered security landscape. The bill is expected to be approved by a large majority in parliament.

Sweden and Finland are both preparing to join the defense alliance. They handed in their applications in May 2022, suspending decades of neutrality. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with Russia, partly motivating the move.

For the two countries to join, NATO's 30 member states must unanimously agree to accept them. Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the Scandinavian countries' accession. Hungary's parliament was set to discuss the issue on Wednesday and will vote next week.

Turkey has been blocking the two aspirants' applications due to security concerns about Sweden. Ankara says Stockholm is supporting and protecting what Turkey believes to be Kurdish terrorists.

Due to Ankara's tough stance on Sweden's accession, there has been speculation that Finland might join NATO first. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly urged Turkey and Hungary to accept Finland's and Sweden's applications to join the Western military alliance.

G20 foreign ministers meet in India as Ukraine war looms big

The G20 foreign ministers were set to meet in New Delhi on Wednesday, with the war in Ukraine threatening to overshadow India's attempts to forge unity.

Russia's Sergey Lavrov was expected to attend the meeting. Top US diplomat Antony Blinken was also due to arrive in New Delhi, however a meeting between the two men remained unlikely as they had not been in the same room since a G20 meeting in July 2022.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov will use his attendance to accuse the West of wanting to "take revenge for the inevitable disappearance of the levers of dominance from its hands."

"The destructive policy of the US and its allies has already put the world on the brink of a disaster, provoked a rollback in socioeconomic development and seriously aggravated the situation of the poorest countries," an English-language statement from the ministry said.

India intended its G20 presidency to focus on issues such as mitigating poverty and securing climate finance, however, the Ukraine war and its global impact are expected to dominate the meeting's agenda.

Russia: Drone attack on Crimea repelled — reports

Russia's defense ministry said its military had repelled what it called a massive drone attack on Crimea by Ukrainian forces without any casualties, Russian news agencies reported.

Belarusian President Lukashenko visits China

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has traveled to China to meet with Chinese leaders, leaving many concerned that Beijing might change its stance on the war in Ukraine. Russia is one of Belarus' closest allies, as Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to use his territory as a staging ground for their invasion just over a year ago.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said that Chinese leader Xi Jinping will receive Lukashenko, who has been to China on several visits before. The ministry described the relationship between the two as "comprehensive strategic partners."

The talks were expected to focus on expanding cooperation between the two in the areas of trade, economy, investment and humanitarian cooperation, Belarus' state news agency Belta said. The meeting will also focus on "the most acute international challenges of today."

The visit by the Belarusian leader came only days after China proposed a detailed plan to stop the fighting in Ukraine.

The proposal received a skeptical response globally as it did not mention any new initiatives to end the conflict or request the complete withdrawal of Russian troops.

Beijing has not condemned Russia's war in Ukraine. Western leaders have recently warned China against supplying Russia with any weapons.

More DW coverage

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a speech to the German parliament announcing that the German military would receive a special one-off fund worth €100 billion (€106 billion). Since then, Scholz's center-left coalition has been dogged by broadsides from the conservative opposition and critics who say Germany's troops have not benefited from this windfall. So what happened?

The top US diplomat met with foreign ministers from the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, who, unlike Belarus, have not rallied behind Russia in its war in Ukraine. Antony Blinken's visit came just days after the one-year anniversary of Moscow's invasion of its neighbor, which has tested Russian influence in the region. Read more here.

los/nm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)