Ukraine war: ICC seeks Russian officers, Ukrainian drones sink Russian warship, nuclear safety talks

A multiple launch rocket system based on a pickup truck fires towards Russian positions at the front line, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
A multiple launch rocket system based on a pickup truck fires towards Russian positions at the front line, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Copyright AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
By Associated Press with Euronews
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

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Another Russian warship has reportedly been sunk by Ukrainian sea drones in the Black Sea on Tuesday, the latest in a series of strikes that has crippled Moscow’s naval capability and limited its operations with the war now in its third year.

According to Ukraine's military intelligence agency, the most recent strike involved Ukrainian naval drones targeting the Sergei Kotov patrol ship near the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov. 

The strike, which couldn't be independently verified, killed seven members of the Russian crew and injured six others, while 52 were rescued, the agency said.

The Russian Defence Ministry has not issued any statements regarding the incident. However, several Russian military bloggers have acknowledged the loss of the ship and reported that its crew was rescued.

Nuclear watchdog chief arrives in Russia for safety talks

The UN atomic watchdog agency’s director has arrived in Russia for talks on nuclear safety in Ukraine, where Europe's largest nuclear power plant is at risk amid fighting, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday night.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi arrived at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday evening, where the Kremlin says he will meet with Vladimir Putin.

Grossi visited Ukraine in February, crossing the front line to visit the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as part of the IAEA’s efforts to prevent a nuclear disaster amid ongoing hostilities. He also held a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He told reporters in Vienna that he considered it important to maintain a dialogue with both sides, and added that the situation with the plant, which is Europe's largest, “continues to be very fragile.”

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, in Energodar, Russian-occupied Ukraine.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, in Energodar, Russian-occupied Ukraine.LIBKOS/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Grossi said that on his Russian trip, he expects to discuss “technical issues” related to “the future operational status of the plant”.

The IAEA has repeatedly expressed alarm about the Zaporizhzhia facility amid fears of a potential nuclear catastrophe.

The plant has repeatedly been caught in the crossfire since Russia sent troops into Ukraine, seizing the facility shortly after.

Its six reactors have been shut down for months, but it still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features.

ICC issues arrest warrants for Russian military officers

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on Tuesday for two high-ranking Russian military officers on charges linked to attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

It's only the second time the global court has publicly announced warrants linked to Russia's war in Ukraine. In March 2023, the court asked for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing him of being responsible for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the court announced warrants for Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash, who was commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force at the times of the alleged crimes. Also wanted is Russian Navy Adm. Viktor Kinolayevich Sokolov, who was the commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

They are wanted for the war crime of directing attacks at civilian objects, causing excessive incidental harm to civilians or damage to civilian objects, and the crime against humanity of inhumane acts.

“I have repeatedly emphasixed that those responsible for actions that impact innocent civilians or protected objects must know that this conduct is bound by a set of rules reflected in international humanitarian law,” ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement. “All wars have rules. Those rules bind all without exception.”

The court said that judges who reviewed the evidence presented by prosecutors said that there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the two men are responsible for “missile strikes carried out by the forces under their command against the Ukrainian electric infrastructure” from Oct. 10, 2022 until at least March 9, 2023.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the warrants should serve as a warning to other Russian top brass.

"Every Russian commander who orders strikes against Ukrainian civilians and critical infrastructure must know that justice will be served. Every perpetrator of such crimes must know that they will be held accountable,” Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin welcomed the warrants, saying they were supported by evidence provided by Ukrainian agencies. He called them “another milestone in ensuring justice for all victims and survivors of this war."

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