Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation, a day after the Worldwide Felony Court docket issued an arrest warrant towards him over the Ukraine battle.
Turkey in the meantime introduced the extension of a deal that has allowed Ukraine to export grain following Russia’s offensive, however Kyiv and Moscow disagreed if the settlement was extended for 60 or 120 days.
Putin’s shock go to to Crimea was his first to the peninsula since he despatched troops to Ukraine on February 24 final 12 months, aside from when he drove throughout the bridge linking the territory to mainland Russia final December.
He was proven visiting the Black Sea port metropolis of Sevastopol, accompanied by the native Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev, in response to pictures broadcast by Russian state TV.
Razvozhayev stated on the messaging app Telegram that Putin had been anticipated to participate within the opening of a youngsters’s artwork faculty by video hyperlink.
“However Vladimir Vladimirovich got here in individual. Himself. Behind the wheel. As a result of on such a historic day, the president is all the time with Sevastopol and the folks of Sevastopol,” he stated.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 following a referendum that was not recognised by Kyiv and the worldwide group.
Talking on the Davos discussion board in January, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated Ukraine aimed to take again Crimea, “our land”. Moscow has refused to incorporate it in doable peace talks.
Putin’s go to got here a day after the Worldwide Felony Court docket issued an arrest warrant towards him over the “deportation” of Ukrainian youngsters.
Greater than 16,000 Ukrainian youngsters have been deported to Russia for the reason that begin of the battle final 12 months, in response to Kyiv, with many allegedly positioned in establishments and foster houses.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan informed AFP Friday that Putin was now responsible for arrest if he set foot in any of the courtroom’s greater than 120 member states.
The 70-year-old Russian chief has but to publicly touch upon the warrant.
– ‘Void’ ICC warrant –
However the ICC transfer triggered a wave of condemnation from Moscow, which dismissed the orders as “void”.
Russia just isn’t a celebration to the ICC so it was unclear if or how Putin may ever find yourself within the dock.
The Hague-based courtroom’s shock resolution additionally got here forward of the Moscow go to from Chinese language chief Xi Jinping to signal accords ushering in a brand new period of ties.
Xi might be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday.
China, a serious Russian ally, has sought to place itself as a impartial get together, urging Moscow and Kyiv to resolve the battle by way of negotiations.
In a 12-point place paper on the battle final month, China known as for dialogue and respect for all international locations’ territorial sovereignty.
However Western leaders have repeatedly criticised Beijing for failing to sentence Russia’s offensive, accusing it of offering Moscow with diplomatic cowl for its assault.
Ukraine’s and China’s international ministers held a phone name Thursday, during which China’s Qin Gang urged Kyiv and Moscow to restart peace talks “as quickly as doable”.
His Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba stated the decision included dialogue of “the importance of the precept of territorial integrity”, with out giving particulars.
Final autumn, the Kremlin introduced the annexation of 4 Ukrainian territories, Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, regardless of not controlling them utterly.
– Grain deal prolonged –
In Ankara, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated the 2 sides have agreed to increase the deal that has allowed Kyiv, a serious grain exporter, to renew exports.
However there was disagreement over the phrases.
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister stated the deal had been prolonged for 120 days, however a spokeswoman for Russia’s international ministry stated Moscow had agreed to a 60-day extension.
Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have been blocked by warships after Russia despatched in troops in February 2022.
A deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 — and signed by Kyiv and Moscow — had allowed for the secure passage of exports. It was prolonged for 120 days in November.