Putin visits Crimea on annexation anniversary after war crimes warrant
Moscow, 18 March (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin visited the Crimean peninsula on Saturday for the ninth anniversary of its annexation from Ukraine, a day after an arrest warrant was issued for the Russian leader over alleged war crimes.
Putin visited an art school and the Korsun children’s center in Chersonesos, on the outskirts of the port-city of Sevastopol, which is home to the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Footage broadcast by the state-owned Russia-1 television channel showed Putin with the governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and other regional authorities.
Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, earlier announced that on the anniversary of the “reunification of Crimea with Russia”, as Moscow dubs the illegal annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, Putin would be joining via video link the launch of a cultural center.
“Our president knows how to surprise,” Razvozhayev said on his Telegram channel as Putin arrived behind the wheel to the port-city, Russia’s state-backed Taas news agency reported.
The regional governor said the president was in Crimea to launch the first leg of the Tauric Chersonese historical and archaeological park.
“This idea (…) is being implemented at an incredible pace thanks to military builders’ efforts,” Razvozhayev added.
The visit comes a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over his alleged responsibility for the war crimes of the unlawful deportation of children and the unlawful transfer of civilians from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
In September 2022, Russia illegally annexed a further four Ukrainian territories, Donetsk and Luhansk, swathes of which have been under de facto separatist rule since 2014, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, partially occupied by Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began.EFE