The ICC said in a statement that a warrant had also been issued for Maria Lvova-Belova, a Russian children's rights official who allegedly directs the removal of Ukrainian children to Russia.
The two are suspected of "having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others" the statement said, adding that Putin had failed "to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility.
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children," the ICC said in a statement on March 17.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed the move, calling it "a historic decision from which historical responsibility will begin."
The deportation of Ukrainian children "means the illegal transfer of thousands of our children to the territory of a terrorist state," Zelenskiy said, adding that this could not have taken place without an order from Putin.
"Separating children from their families, depriving them of any opportunity to contact their relatives, hiding children on the territory of Russia, scattering them in remote regions -- all this is an obvious state policy of Russia, state decisions, and state evil, which begins precisely with the first official of this state," Zelenskiy said.
With the warrant, Putin becomes the third serving head of state to be targeted in an arrest warrant from the ICC, the world's permanent war crimes tribunal, along with Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and Libya's Muammar Qaddafi. [RFE/JS]