Putin visits children’s centre in Crimea on ninth anniversary of annexation
“Here will be a very interesting museum, a very interesting exhibition about the history of Crimea from ancient times to the present day,” the priest said at one point. At the end of the footage he got into the driving seat of a 4×4 car with blacked-out windows. Putin hasn’t celebrated the annexation of the peninsula in Crimea for three years. He last visited the territory in December when he drove a car across the 12-mile (19-kilometre) bridge that links mainland Russia with the peninsula after it had been patched up following a Ukrainian attack two months earlier.
Crimea is reported to be a major thoroughfare for children taken from Ukraine and the centre could be used as part of that. The Kremlin has previously been accused of pushing Ukrainian children through Russian indoctrination centres.
Those accusations were part of the ICC’s arrest warrant, which formally placed Putin and his children’s representative, Maria Lvova-Belova, on its wanted list. Putin is only the third sitting national leader, after Sudan’s former president Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, to be labelled a war criminal by the ICC.
Russia is not a signatory of the treaty that governs the ICC and the Kremlin has described the label as a Western plot. All 123 signatures of the treaty are supposed to arrest a wanted person if they travel to their territory. This, theoretically, limits Putin’s travel options.
But Putin’s allies are saying that the Kremlin has been rescuing children from the horror of war.
“You should have nominated Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] for the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Ramazon Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya in southern Russia.
The Telegraph, London
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