has added 23 British citizens to its stop list barring them from entering the country because of British involvement in providing aid to . Bizarrely, Putin's regime took aim at "human rights violations" at Belmarsh prison in south London as one the matters that earned Moscow's wrath. It comes after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the , alleging war crimes in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday sanctions on the 23 UK citizens, including military officials involved in the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the UK.

Officials of the Zinc Network Corporation were also put in the list of citizens barred from entering Russia.

The Russian ministry said: "In addition, restrictions have been imposed on a number of judges and officials of the UK penitentiary system involved in the harassment of independent journalists.

"In particular, representatives of the management of the maximum security prison Bermarsh in London, which is known for repeated cases of human rights violations were included in the 'stop list'."

The move came in retaliation against the British Government after it welcomed the International Criminal Court's (ICC) decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin expected Kyiv to fall within a matter of days, yet the war is now a year old. Aside from fierce resistance by the Ukrainians, unprecedented amounts of military equipment and other assistance from Western allies have been crucial.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said it was essential that those at the top of the regime in Moscow were held to account for the atrocities which have taken place since the invasion a year ago.

The Hague-based ICC said it was issuing the warrant for the arrest of the Russian leader over the alleged abduction and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The charges were immediately dismissed by the Kremlin - which does not recognise the ICC - as "legally void".

However, Mr Cleverly said in a statement posted on social media: "Those responsible for horrific war crimes in Ukraine must be brought to justice.

READ MORE: Ex-NATO chief warns Putin is becoming more 'neurotic'

"We welcome the step taken by the independent ICC to hold those at the top of the Russian regime, including Vladimir Putin, to account.

"Work must continue to investigate the atrocities committed."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, also backed the move.

"Today's announcement sends an important message: there will no hiding place for Putin and his cronies and the world is determined to make them pay for what they have done," he said.

"These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. One day Putin will face justice: until then, the focus of all who believe in Ukraine's liberty and freedom must continue to be on ensuring her victory."

The International Criminal Court (ICC) describes itself as the world's first permanent international court, aiming to hold criminals to account and prevent crimes from happening in the future. Around the world 123 countries are party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. The ICC has jurisdiction over four main crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The ICC has issued arrest warrants for figures such as Muammar Gaddafi, the former leader of Libya, as well as Russian leader Vladimir Putin more recently.

While there is no immediate prospect of Mr Putin facing arrest, legal experts have pointed to the examples of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic and Liberia's president Charles Taylor as international leaders who wound up in the dock in The Hague.

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, told the BBC: "It is, I suspect, going to be a long journey but people said that about Yugoslavia and Rwanda and many of those people responsible for the carnage ended up in the dock of a court.

"In the short term it will be very hard for President Putin to move around the world because there are so many countries who are parties to the ICC who will be duty bound to arrest him."

2023-03-18T13:53:23Z dg43tfdfdgfd