Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Monday that it had opened a criminal case against the International Criminal Court prosecutor and judges who on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges.

The committee, responsible for investigating serious crimes, said there were no grounds for criminal liability on Putin’s part, and heads of state enjoyed absolute immunity from the jurisdiction of foreign states.

The ICC prosecutor’s actions showed signs of being crimes under Russian law, the committee said – knowingly accusing an innocent person of a crime, and “preparing an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection, in order to complicate international relations”.

The Russian action is a symbolic gesture of defiance in response to the warrant issued against Putin on Friday, which accused him and his children’s commissioner of the war crime of deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.

The Kremlin has called the move outrageous but legally void, as Russia is not a signatory to the treaty that created the ICC.