VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has said he is convinced that Russian president Vladimir Putin will face an international war crimes court when Ukraine wins the war that has been raging for over a year.

In a speech titled No Peace Without Justice For Ukraine given in The Hague, the city that hosts the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Ukrainian president said that Putin “deserves to be sentenced for these criminal actions right here in the capital of the international law”.

“And I’m sure we will see that happen when we win. And we will win,” he said.

The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine relating to the abduction of children.

The court cannot prosecute the crime of war aggression itself and the Ukrainian president appealed for a full-fledged tribunal to prosecute that overarching crime.

“If we want true justice, we should not look for excuses and should not refer to the shortcomings of the current international law but make bold decisions that will correct [those] shortcomings that unfortunatelyexist in international law,” he said.

Zelenskyy’s speech came a day after he denied that Ukrainian forces were responsible for what the Kremlin alleged was an attempt to assassinate Putin in a drone attack on Moscow. The Kremlin promised retaliation for what it termed a “terrorist” act.

Yesterday, Putin’s spokesperson accused the United States of being behind the alleged attack.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a daily conference call that the Kremlin was “well aware that the decision on such actions and terrorist attacks is not made in Kyiv, but in Washington”.

“And then Kyiv does what it’s told to do,” Peskov said, without offering evidence for his claim.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military claimed that three Russian drones that hit the southern city of Odesa yesterday had “for Moscow” and “for the Kremlin” written on them, seemingly referring to the strikes in Moscow. Also, Kyiv was the target of an air attack for the third time in four days.

In total, Ukraine’s Air Forces intercepted 18 out of 24 Iranian-made drones launched by Russian forces in various regions. No casualties were reported.

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Zelenskyy was welcomed outside the ICC building by the court’s president, Poland’s Piotr Hofmanski. Staff crowded at windows to get a glimpse of Zelenskyy’s arrival and raised a Ukrainian flag next to the court’s own flag outside the building.

In March, ICC judges announced they found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights were responsible for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.

But the chances of Putin standing trial in The Hague are remote.

The court does not have a police force to execute its warrants, and the Russian leader is unlikely to travel to any of the ICC’s 123 member states that are under an obligation to arrest him if they can.

The ICC said in a March 17 statement that Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of (children) and that of unlawful transfer of (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

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ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has made repeated visits to Ukraine and is setting up an office in Kyiv to facilitate his ongoing investigations. However, the ICC does not have jurisdiction to prosecute Putin for the crime of aggression – the unlawful invasion of another sovereign country.

The Dutch government has offered to host a court that could be established to prosecute the crime of aggression and an office is being established to gather evidence.

The new International Centre for Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression should be operational by summer, the European Union’s judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust, said in February.

Zelenskyy’s visit to The Hague came as questions continued to swirl around Russia’s claim that it foiled an attack by Ukrainian drones. There has been no independent verification of the purported attack.