Putin visits Crimea after ICC issues arrest warrant


March 18 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited the Ukrainian province of Crimea, on the anniversary of the illegal annexation of the region by Russia in 2014.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin, who risks arrest by traveling outside of Russia, met with Mikhail Razvozhaev — the Russian appointed governor of Sevastopol — and other officials.


Putin, who appeared to be limping, traveled Sevastopol for the opening of the Korsun Children’s Center and an art school. Russian state media reported that Putin had previously been expected to join the event by video.

“Because on such a historic day, the president is always with Sevastopol and the people of Sevastopol. Our country has an incredible leader!” Razvozhaev said in a statement.

Razvozhaev said in a statement on Telegram that the new children’s center will have 844 students, with 250 of them in the art school, by 2027.”Having examined the school of arts today, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin said: ‘Cool,'” Razvozhaev said.

The International Criminal Court on Friday issued arrest warrants for Putin and children’s commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for illegally transferring children from Ukraine to Russia.


The court, which is not recognized by Russia and the United States, said it believes Putin bears responsibility for forcibly deporting Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the invasion.

In September, Lvova-Belova shockingly admitted that authorities were working to place 125 Ukrainian children described as “orphans” taken from the occupied Donetsk province of Ukraine with Russian families.

“All the children who were brought in have already received Russian citizenship and are being settled under Russian law,” Lvova-Belova said at the time.

Lvova-Belova said that Russian psychologists went to Donetsk and “conducted psychological testing with the children” before showing them videos of prospective adoptive parents.

“Each child had the opportunity to choose from three or four families, then they communicated via video link and already decided which family they were going to, and the psychologist took this compatibility into account,” Lvova-Belova said.

The forcible transfer of children of one group of people to another is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.