KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine on Saturday, the day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader accusing him of war crimes.
Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Putin visited an art school and a children’s center, locations that appeared to have been chosen in response to the court’s action.
The court specifically accused him Friday of bearing personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine during Russia’s full-scale invasion of the neighboring country that started almost 13 months ago.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that most of the world denounced as illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded that Russia withdraw from the peninsula as well as the areas it has occupied since last year.
Putin has shown no intention of relinquishing the Kremlin’s gains. Instead, he stressed Friday the importance of holding Crimea.
“Obviously, security issues take top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol now,” he said, referring to Crimea’s largest city. “We will do everything needed to fend off any threats.”
Putin took a plane to travel the 1,821 kilometers (1,132 miles) from Moscow to Sevastopol, where he took the wheel of the car that transported him around the city, according to Moscow-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhaev.
Along with the art school and children’s center, Putin also toured Putin also visited the archaeological site at the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Chersonesos, according to Russian state media.
The ICC’s arrest warrant was the first issued against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, also issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation.
The move was immediately dismissed by Moscow — and welcomed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough. Its practical implications, however, could be limited as the chances of Putin facing trial at the ICC are highly unlikely because Moscow does not recognize the court’s…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at World News – Breaking News, Top Stories…