U.S. top diplomat Blinken urges all ICC members to comply with Putin arrest warrant

FILE PHOTO: Russia's Putin holds talks with China's Xi in Moscow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday urged all members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to comply with an arrest warrant that the court issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last week, the court accused Putin of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. The legal move will obligate the court's 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.

"I think anyone who's a party to the court and has obligations should fulfill their obligations," Blinken said when asked by U.S. senator Lindsey Graham at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, if he would encourage European allies to "turn over" Putin.

Although the United States is not a party to the ICC, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday that Putin has clearly committed war crimes, adding that the ICC warrant was justified.

Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during its one-year invasion of its neighbour and the Kremlin branded the court decision as "null and void".

Neither Russia nor Ukraine are members of the ICC, although Kyiv granted the court jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory. The tribunal has no police force of its own and relies on member states to make arrests.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Patricia Zengerle and Simon Lewis; Editing by Daniel Wallis)