Home NewsAfrica Despite ICC arrest warrant, Putin makes surprise visit to Mariupol in first trip to fallen city | News24

Despite ICC arrest warrant, Putin makes surprise visit to Mariupol in first trip to fallen city | News24

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Despite ICC arrest warrant, Putin makes surprise visit to Mariupol in first trip to fallen city | News24

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Mariupol.
  • Russian forces captured the Ukraine metropolis.
  • Putin additionally visited Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a shock go to to Mariupol, state media reported on Sunday, his first to town because it was captured after a prolonged siege firstly of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

The journey comes after an arrest warrant was issued for Putin by the Worldwide Prison Court docket, over Russia’s alleged deportation of hundreds of Ukrainian youngsters through the battle.

Russia besieged Mariupol firstly of its offensive final 12 months, destroying the Azovstal metal works, the final holdout of Ukrainian forces within the metropolis.

In response to state information company TASS on Sunday, Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter on Saturday and took a tour of town, at instances driving a automotive.

He visited a number of websites spoke with residents, and was offered with a report on the reconstruction work of town.

READ | ‘Stopping the war is everyone’s wish’: China President Xi Jinping plays peacemaker on Russia visit

Putin’s cease in Mariupol comes after his shock go to to Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation.

Russian state TV confirmed him visiting the Black Sea port metropolis of Sevastopol, accompanied by the native Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev.

Razvozhayev mentioned on the messaging app Telegram that Putin had been anticipated to participate within the opening of a youngsters’s artwork college by video hyperlink.

He mentioned:

However Vladimir Vladimirovich got here in individual. Himself. Behind the wheel. As a result of on such a historic day, the president is at all times with Sevastopol and the folks of Sevastopol.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 following a referendum that was not recognised by Kyiv and the worldwide group.

Addressing the World Financial Discussion board in Switzerland in January, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned he aimed to take again Crimea, although Moscow has refused to incorporate it in potential peace talks.

Putin’s go to got here after the Worldwide Prison Court docket issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday over the “deportation” of Ukrainian youngsters.

Kyiv says greater than 16 000 Ukrainian youngsters have been deported to Russia because the begin of the battle in February 2022, lots of them positioned in establishments and foster properties.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan informed AFP that Putin was now chargeable for arrest if he set foot in any of the court docket’s greater than 120 member states.

The 70-year-old Russian chief has not commented publicly on the warrant, however the Kremlin dismissed its validity as “void” since Russia didn’t recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction.

The Hague-based court docket’s choice got here forward of Chinese language chief Xi Jinping’s go to to Moscow on Monday to signal accords touted as ushering in a brand new period of ties.

China, a significant Russian ally, has sought to place itself as a impartial celebration within the Ukraine battle, urging Moscow and Kyiv to open negotiations.

However Western leaders have repeatedly criticised Beijing for failing to sentence Russia’s offensive, accusing it of offering Moscow with diplomatic cowl for its marketing campaign.

In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned the 2 sides had agreed to increase a deal that has allowed Ukraine, a significant grain exporter, to renew exports after its Black Sea ports had been blocked by Russian warships.

However there was disagreement over the phrases.

This handout photograph shows Russian President Vl

This handout {photograph} reveals Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) listening to Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev (L) as he visits a youngsters’s arts-and-crafts centre, a part of Chersonesos Taurica historic and archaeological park on the ninth anniversary of the referendum on the state standing of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia.

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister mentioned the deal had been prolonged for 120 days, however a spokesperson for Russia’s international ministry mentioned Moscow had agreed to a 60-day extension.

The deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 had allowed for the secure passage of exports, and had already been prolonged for 120 days in November.

The combating is now concentrated within the japanese Donetsk area of Ukraine, notably town of Bakhmut.

Russian strikes hit the close by metropolis of Kramatorsk on Saturday, killing two folks and wounding 10, mentioned regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, who accused Moscow of utilizing cluster bombs within the assault.

AFP journalists in Kramatorsk heard round 10 explosions go off almost concurrently simply earlier than 16:00 native time (14:00 GMT) and noticed smoke rise above a park within the southern a part of town.

A lady died on the scene from her wounds, they noticed.

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