Amsterdam: The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Friday against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during its one-year invasion of its neighbour.
The ICC issued the warrant for Putin's arrest on suspicion of unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the court was expected to issue warrants, the first in its investigation into the Ukraine conflict.
Separately the court issued warrants for Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, Russia's Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on the same charges.
Warrant meaningless: Russia
Russia termed the arrest warrant issued by the ICC in The Hague against Vladimir Putin meaningless.
"The decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal point of view," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.
"Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it."
The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but never ratified it to become a member of the ICC, and finally withdrew its signature in 2016.
At the time, Russia was under international pressure over its seizure and unilateral annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, as well as a campaign of air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad's war against rebels.
Wheels of justice turning: Ukraine
Ukraine applauded the ICC for issuing an arrest warrant against Putin.
"Wheels of Justice are turning: I applaud the ICC decision to issue arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova over forcible transfer of Ukrainian children," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said the ICC decision was "historic for Ukraine and the entire international law system."
"Today's decision is a historic step. But it is only the beginning of the long road to restore justice," Kostin said on the Telegram messaging app.
Andriy Yermak, chief of the presidential staff, said that issuing the warrant against Putin was "only the beginning."
He said Ukraine had cooperated closely with the ICC and was currently investigating over 16,000 cases of forced children deportation to Russia. Ukraine has managed to secure the return of 308 children so far.