The Russian president arrives in Crimea to celebrate the anniversary of Crimea’s annexation from Ukraine in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made an unannounced visit to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.
Putin was greeted on Saturday by Russian-installed Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razbodzayev and taken to see a new children’s center and art school in what officials described as an unannounced visit.
“President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin knows how to surprise. In a good way,” Razvozhayev said on the messaging app Telegram.
“But Vladimir Vladimirovich came in person. Himself. Behind the wheel. said the person.
State media said the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him and accused him of a war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Putin has not publicly commented on the warrant. A Kremlin spokesman called it “pointless” and said Russia considered the very issue raised by the ICC “outrageous and unacceptable”.
Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, eight years before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has said it will fight to expel Russia from Crimea and all other territories it has occupied in the year-long war.
Putin has no intention of giving up the interests of the Kremlin. Instead, he stressed the importance of holding Crimea on Friday.
“Obviously, security is a top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol,” he said, referring to Crimea’s largest city. “We will do whatever it takes to repel any threat.”
The ICC arrest warrant was the first to be issued against the leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. A court based in The Hague, Netherlands, also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Libova Belova, a Russian child rights commissioner.
Russia quickly dismissed the move, but Ukraine hailed it as a major breakthrough. However, Putin is highly unlikely to be tried in his ICC, so its practical impact may be limited. Moscow does not recognize the jurisdiction of the courts and does not extradite its own citizens. Putin will face arrest if he travels abroad to an ICC member state.