In his first appearance since an arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged war crimes, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea. The Russian leader was seen walking with a visible limp in Crimea as he inaugurated a school and children’s art centre. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, a move which was internationally condemned.
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, shared a video to social media claiming that Vladimir Putin was “visibly limping” during his visit. In the video, Vladimir Putin can be seen walking alongside his aides with his head bowed down as they brief him.
The visit was termed “reunification” events by Kremlin and marks nine years since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Earlier, the Russian President was expected to take part in the events via video conference but was later seen on state TV in Sevastopol, news agency Reuters reported, adding that Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea’s biggest city driving a car.
The visit comes just a day after ICC issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for war crimes related to the alleged abduction of children from Ukraine, charges which were denied by the Kremlin. ICC also charged Russia’s minister for children, Maria Lvova-Belova over allegations of deporting children from Ukraine to Russia. The allegations date back to February last year.
Vladimir Putin had last visited Crimea in 2020.