Putin was spotted limping during an unannounced visit to Crimea

Putin visits Crimea on the anniversary of its annexation by Ukraine

Vladimir Putin paid an unannounced visit to Crimea on the anniversary of its annexation by Ukraine (Image: Paul Hardcastle)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived Crimea on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the Black Sea Peninsula from Ukraine.

Mr Putin walked with a noticeable limp as he visited an art school and children’s center on Saturday, the day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader and accused him of war crimes.

The court on Friday specifically accused him of personal responsibility for kidnapping children from Ukraine during the country’s massive Russian invasion that began nearly 13 months ago.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move considered illegal by most around the world.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on Russia to withdraw from the peninsula and the areas occupied since last year.

Mr. Putin has shown no intention of abandoning the Kremlin’s achievements. Instead, on Friday he stressed the importance of holding Crimea.

“Obviously, security issues are now the top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol,” he said, referring to Crimea’s largest city.

“We will do whatever is necessary to ward off threats.”

The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant was the first issued against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, also issued an arrest warrant for 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 hailed as a major breakthrough by Ukraine.

However, its practical impact may be limited as the chances of Mr Putin being tried before the ICC are highly unlikely as Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction or extradites its nationals.

Russia captured Crimea in 2014, eight years before launching its all-out invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine says it will fight to drive Russia out of Crimea and all other areas Russia has occupied in the years-long war.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/18/putin-visits-crimea-to-mark-anniversary-of-annexation-from-ukraine-18465181/ Putin was spotted limping during an unannounced visit to Crimea

Justin Scaccy

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