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Russia adds Ukrainian President Zelensky to its list of ‘wanted criminals’

Zelensky’s name appeared in the Russian Interior Ministry’s online “wanted” list, though details regarding the specific charges were not provided.

MOSCOW: According to a government database, Russian authorities have included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on their list of wanted individuals.

Zelensky’s name appeared in the Russian Interior Ministry’s online “wanted” list, though details regarding the specific charges were not provided.

No immediate explanation was given by Russian officials regarding why Zelensky was added to the list. However, this move comes amidst Russia’s ongoing military actions in Ukraine, during which Zelensky has been a primary target.

Zelensky had previously acknowledged thwarted attempts on his life, mentioning at least “five or six” assassination plots against him. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly urged the Ukrainian army to overthrow Zelensky.

This isn’t the first time Russia has targeted foreign figures. The country’s wanted list contains numerous entries, including politicians and public figures from various countries. For instance, Moscow sought Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in February, accusing her of “desecration of historical memory” for Estonia’s removal of Soviet-era monuments.

Additionally, last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges related to the abduction of Ukrainian children, a move Moscow vehemently rejected.

Earlier, Russia and Ukraine have recently engaged in face-to-face discussions to facilitate the exchange of children affected by the ongoing conflict, as announced by Moscow’s children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova.

According to Lvova-Belova, forty-eight children are scheduled to be swapped under an agreement reached in Qatar, with twenty-nine destined for Ukraine and nineteen for Russia.

The mediation for this exchange was conducted by Qatar, responding to appeals from both Moscow and Kyiv to explore potential avenues for cooperation. However, Lvova-Belova did not provide specifics regarding why these children were in Russian custody or their origins.

Notably, both Lvova-Belova and President Vladimir Putin are wanted by the International Criminal Court for Russia’s alleged involvement in transferring Ukrainian children into Russian territory, which is considered a war crime. Russia, though not a member of the ICC, rejects the validity of the warrant against Putin.

Kyiv has claimed that approximately 20,000 children were compelled to relocate to Russia following Moscow’s invasion in February 2022, characterizing it as a “genocide,” according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Lvova-Belova dismissed this figure as inaccurate, stating it originated from the early stages of the conflict when the frontline was volatile.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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