Facing Arrest Warrant, Russian President Putin Visits Annexed Crimea

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 Worldwide Legal Court docket issued an arrest warrant for the Russian chief accusing him of battle crimes.

Russian state information company RIA Novosti stated Putin visited an artwork college and a youngsters’s heart, places that appeared to have been chosen in response to the court docket’s motion.

The court docket particularly accused him Friday of bearing private accountability for the abductions of youngsters from Ukraine throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of the neighboring nation that began nearly 13 months in the past.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a transfer that many of the world denounced as unlawful. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded that Russia withdraw from the peninsula in addition to the areas it has occupied since final yr.

Putin has proven no intention of relinquishing the Kremlin’s beneficial properties. As an alternative, he careworn Friday the significance of holding Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Safety Council assembly through a video hyperlink on the Kremlin in Moscow on March 17, 2023. (Photograph by Mikhail METZEL / SPUTNIK / AFP)

MIKHAIL METZEL through Getty Pictures

“Obviously, security issues take top priority for Crimea and Sevastopol now,” he stated, referring to Crimea’s largest metropolis. “We will do everything needed to fend off any threats.”

Putin took a aircraft to journey the 1,821 kilometers (1,132 miles) from Moscow to Sevastopol, the place he took the wheel of the automobile that transported him across the metropolis, in accordance with Moscow-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhaev.

Together with the artwork college and kids’s heart, Putin additionally toured Putin additionally visited the archaeological website on the ruins of the traditional Greek metropolis of Chersonesos, in accordance with Russian state media.

The ICC’s arrest warrant was the primary issued in opposition to a frontrunner of one of many 5 everlasting members of the U.N. Safety Council. The court docket, which relies in The Hague, Netherlands, additionally issued a warrant for the arrest of Maria Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for Kids’s Rights within the Workplace of the President of the Russian Federation.

The transfer was instantly dismissed by Moscow — and welcomed by Ukraine as a significant breakthrough. Its sensible implications, nevertheless, may very well be restricted because the possibilities of Putin dealing with trial on the ICC are extremely unlikely as a result of Moscow doesn’t acknowledge the court docket’s jurisdiction or extradite its nationals.

A damaged restaurant is seen after Russian shelling hit in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)
A broken restaurant is seen after Russian shelling hit in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photograph/Andriy Andriyenko)

Widespread Russian assaults continued in Ukraine after the court docket’s announcement. Ukraine was attacked by 16 Russian drones on Friday night time, the Ukrainian air power reported early Saturday.

Writing on Telegram, the air power command stated that 11 out of 16 drones have been shot down “in the central, western and eastern regions.” Amongst areas focused have been the capital, Kyiv, and the western Lviv province.

The pinnacle of the Kyiv metropolis administration, Serhii Popko, stated Ukrainian air defenses shot down all drones heading for the Ukrainian capital, whereas Lviv regional Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi stated Saturday that three of six drones have been shot down, with the opposite three hitting a district bordering Poland.

In accordance with the Ukrainian air power, the assaults have been carried out from the jap coast of the Sea of Azov and Russia’s Bryansk province, which borders Ukraine.

The Ukrainian navy moreover stated in its common replace Saturday morning that Russian forces over the earlier 24 hours launched 34 airstrikes, one missile strike and 57 rounds of anti-aircraft hearth. The Fb replace stated that falling particles hit the southern Kherson province, damaging seven homes and a kindergarten.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the social and economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol via a videoconference at the Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 17, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a gathering on the social and financial growth of Crimea and Sevastopol through a videoconference on the Moscow’s Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 17, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photograph through AP)

In accordance with the Ukrainian assertion, Russia continues to be concentrating on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, focusing assaults on Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Shakhtarsk in Ukraine’s jap Donetsk province.

Regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko stated one particular person was killed and three wounded when 11 cities and villages within the province have been shelled on Friday.

Additional west, Russian rockets hit a residential space in a single day within the metropolis of Zaporizhzhia, the regional capital of the partially occupied province of the identical identify. No casualties have been reported, however homes have been broken Anatoliy Kurtev of the Zaporizhzhia Metropolis Council stated.

British navy officers stated Saturday that Russia is more likely to widen conscription to replenish its troops combating in Ukraine. In its newest intelligence replace, the U.Ok. Protection Ministry stated that deputies within the Russian Duma, the decrease home of Russia’s parliament, launched a invoice to alter the draft ages for males to 21-30, from the present 18-27.

The ministry stated that, in the meanwhile, many males ages 18-21 declare exemptions from navy service as a result of they’re enrolled in larger training establishments. The change would imply that they’d finally nonetheless should serve. It stated the regulation would possible move and take impact in January 2024.