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Hungary blocks joint EU statement on Putin's ICC arrest warrant

Hungary blocks joint EU statement on Putin's ICC arrest warrant

Hungary blocked European Union member states from issuing a joint statement about an international arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg has reported.

Budapest's veto meant that the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, instead released a statement in his own name "taking note" of the decision by the International Criminal Court.

"The EU sees the decision by the ICC as a beginning of the process of accountability and holding Russian leaders to account for the crimes and atrocities they are ordering, enabling or committing in Ukraine," Borrell said in the statement published on Sunday evening. EU justice ministers issued their own statement supporting the ICC decision Monday, which Hungary did not sign.

Budapest's position is likely to come up when EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels this week. Draft conclusions seen by Bloomberg currently state that the leaders' council "takes note of the arrest warrants recently issued by the International Criminal Court, against Russia’s president and his commissioner for children’s rights, for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russia". That's similar to the wording Borrell used.

Several leaders are likely to call for stronger language, the people said. A number of EU leaders already welcomed the ICC’s decision individually when it was issued last week.

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