Putin visits Crimea after a war crimes warrant

Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea to celebrate the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

On Saturday, Putin visited a technical school and a children’s center, a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader, accusing him of war crimes.

The court specifically accused him on Friday of being personally responsible for the kidnappings of children from Ukraine during Russia’s all-out invasion of the neighboring country that began nearly 13 months ago.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move most of the world considered illegal.

This is an urgent news update. The previous AP story follows below.

Large-scale Russian attacks continued in Ukraine following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights.

The Ukrainian Air Force said in the early hours of Saturday that Ukraine was attacked by 16 Russian drones on Friday night. The Air Force Command wrote on Telegram that 11 of the 16 drones were shot down “in the central, western and eastern regions”. Among the targeted areas are the capital Kiev and the western province of Lviv.

The head of the Kyiv city administration, Serhiy Popko, said that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all the drones heading to the Ukrainian capital, while the governor of Lviv province Maksym Kozitsky said on Saturday that three of the six drones were shot down, while the other three hit the district. On the border with Poland. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the attacks took place from the eastern coast of the Sea of ​​Azov and the Russian province of Bryansk, which borders Ukraine.

In addition, the Ukrainian military said in its regular update on Saturday morning that Russian forces had launched 34 airstrikes, 1 missile strike and 57 anti-aircraft shots in the past 24 hours. The Facebook update said that falling debris hit the southern province of Kherson, damaging seven homes and a kindergarten.

According to the Ukrainian statement, Russia continues to focus its efforts on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, and is concentrating attacks on Liman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka, and Shkhtarsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province. Donetsk region’s regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said one person was killed and three wounded when 11 towns and villages in the region were bombed on Friday.

To the west, Russian missiles hit a residential area Friday night in the city of Zaporizhia, the regional capital of the partially occupied province of the same name. There were no reports of casualties, but homes were damaged and a catering establishment was destroyed, said Anatoly Kortev of the Zaporizhia City Council.

The International Criminal Court said Friday it had issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine, along with Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova Belova.

This is the first time that a world court has issued an arrest warrant against the leader of one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

But Moscow immediately rejected the move and Ukraine welcomed it as a major achievement.

However, its practical implications could be limited because the chances of Putin facing trial at the ICC are highly unlikely since Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and does not extradite its citizens.

British military officials said on Saturday that Russia is likely to expand conscription. In its latest intelligence update, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said that deputies in Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, introduced a bill on Monday to change the conscription age for men to 21-30, from 18 to 27 currently.

Currently, many men between the ages of 18 and 21 claim exemption from military service because they are in higher education, the ministry said. Change means that they still ultimately have to serve. It said the law is likely to be passed and will enter into force in January 2024.


Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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