Vladimir Putin in Crimea for the 9th anniversary of the annexation | War in Ukraine

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Vladimir Putin in Crimea for the 9th anniversary of the annexation | War in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin (center), Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvojayev (left) and Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhonov Shevkunov (right) visited the art and children's aesthetics from Sevastopol, Crimea.

Vladimir Putin was in Crimea on Saturday for the 9th anniversary of the annexation of this Ukrainian peninsula by Russia, a surprise trip the day after the issuance of an international arrest warrant for the x27;against the Russian President.

This is the Kremlin master's first trip to Crimea since the outbreak of the Russian offensive in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, which earned Russia a series of severe international sanctions, added to those already imposed following the 2014 annexation.

Arriving in Sevastopol, home port of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Crimea, Mr. Putin notably attended the inauguration ceremony of a school of arts for children in the company of the local governor, Mikhail Razvojayev, according to the images broadcast by the public television channel Rossiya 1.

As this city is located only about 240 km from Kherson, a southern Ukrainian city taken over by the Kiev army in November after the withdrawal of Russian forces, this move by Mr. Putin is also the first performed in a place so close to the front line.

Our President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin knows how to surprise. In the good sense of this word, wrote on Telegram Mr. Razvojayev.

According to him, a school of arts for children was to be inaugurated on Saturday with the participation of the Russian leader by videoconference.

“But Vladimir Vladimirovich came in person. Himself. Driving. Because on a historic day like today, he is always with Sevastopol and with its people.

— Mikhail Razvojayev, Governor

Our country has an incredible leader! he enthused.

Russia annexed Crimea on March 18, 2014 following a referendum not recognized by Kyiv or the international community.

If Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed in January that it intended to take back Crimea – our land – with arms, Moscow continues to hammer home that Crimea is Russian and refuses to make it the subject of possible peace negotiations.

Vladimir Putin, whose last visit to Crimea dated back to November 2021, has been targeted since Friday by an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which accuses him of the war crime of illegal deportation of Ukrainian children.

The Kremlin ruled the warrant null and void, the issuance of which was announced the same day Moscow and Beijing unveiled Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Russia next week is expected to usher in a new era in relations between these two allies.

This visit will take place from March 20 to 22, just over a year after the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, which led the Kremlin to reorient itself towards China amid tensions with the x27;West, which supports Ukraine.

Russian and Chinese Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, will meet from March 20 to 22.

Last month, China sought to establish itself as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict by releasing a document urging Moscow and Kyiv to hold peace talks.

Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, in a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kouleba, once again urged Kyiv and Moscow to resume peace talks as soon as possible.

We have repeatedly stated that we are open to really serious proposals from the West and Ukraine on a settlement of the crisis by politico-diplomatic means, the door said on Saturday -spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova.

But the language of ultimatums is unacceptable to us, she stressed, calling in particular for the lifting of all illegitimate sanctions and the #x27;cancellation of all legal proceedings against Russia international.

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