International Court Seeks Arrest of former Russian Defense Minister Shoigu over Attacks on Ukrainian Civilian Targets

Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, gestures as he speaks to Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov prior to a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin with the top military brass in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants Tuesday for Russia’s former defense minister and its military chief of staff for attacking civilian targets in Ukraine.

The court is accusing former Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov of war crimes and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts.

The court said in a statement that warrants were issued because judges considered there were reasonable grounds to believe that the men are responsible for “missile strikes carried out by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure” from Oct. 10, 2022 until at least March 9, 2023.

During this time-frame, a large number of strikes against numerous electric power plants and sub-stations were carried out by the Russian armed forces in multiple locations in Ukraine, the court added.

There is no immediate likelihood of either suspect being detained. Russia isn’t a member of the global court, doesn’t recognize its jurisdiction and refuses to hand over suspects.

Last year, the court also issued a warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

Putin replaced Shoigu as defense minister in a Cabinet shakeup in May as he began his fifth term as president. He appointed Shoigu as secretary of Russia’s Security Council, the Kremlin said.