Two days after ICC warrant, Putin pays first visit to occupied Mariupol

Moscow captured the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine last May after a three-month siege

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea, Mariupol, Ukraine, Moscow
In Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated a school and children’s art centre | Screengrab courtesy: Twitter

Two days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for being responsible for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the Russian President on Sunday (March 19) paid a visit to Mariupol in southern Ukraine after a stop in Crimea.

According to news agency AFP, it was Putin’s first trip to the port city of Mariupol, which Moscow captured last May after a nearly three-month siege.

Also read: Putin visits Crimea following war crimes warrant

In Crimea, the Russian leader inaugurated a school and children’s art centre — which Kremlin termed “reunification” events. Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, shared a video on social media claiming that Putin was “visibly limping” during his visit. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 despite international criticism. Putin last visited Crimea in 2020.


ICC charges against Putin

On Friday, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on suspicion of unlawful deportation of minors and the unlawful movement of people from Ukraine to Russia, news agency Reuters reported. Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from seized territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the court reportedly said in a statement.

Also read: Russian attacks continue in wake of ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin

US President Joe Biden on Friday said ICC’s decision to issue an arrest warrant against Putin was “justified,” reported The Guardian. However, Moscow has constantly denied allegations that its forces committed crimes against Ukraine during the one-year invasion.

The ICC has also charged Russia’s minister for children, Maria Lvova-Belova, of deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.

(With agency inputs)