Zelensky: 'Putin fears justice and must end up in The Hague'

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is "afraid of justice" and "must end up" at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his evening address on March 17.

"He is afraid of only one thing – justice,” Zelensky said. "(Putin) must end up in The Hague. That is what we must ensure, everyone in the world who values life and integrity."

Zelensky's address comes as Russia held its third and last day of presidential elections, with the voting being far from free and fair. According to preliminary data, Putin gained 87% of the vote.

Putin, who has ruled Russia since 2000, is seeking a fifth term as president. The win will put him in power until 2030.

In 2020, however, Russia held a rigged vote to approve constitutional amendments allowing Putin to run for two more presidential terms after his current one expires in 2024.

The vote effectively made Putin a dictator for life.

Read also: Putin ‘wins’ rigged Russian election; Ukrainians in occupied territories vote at gunpoint

Zelensky said Putin is "addicted to power and does everything he can to rule forever."

"There is no legitimacy in this imitation of elections, and there can not be," Zelensky said.

"There is no evil he will not commit to prolong his personal power. And there is no one in the world who is safe from this," he said.

"Everything Russia does in the occupied territory of Ukraine is a crime. There must be just retribution for everything the Russian murderers have done in this war and for the sake of Putin's lifelong power."

Earlier on March 16, several countries, including the U.K., the U.S., and Canada, issued public statements denouncing Russia for holding an illegal vote in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

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