Why Russia took Crimea: Putin’s blitz on annexation anniversary

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Crimea comes as a surprise on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of the region’s annexation by Russia. The Russian president, expected via a video link, appeared in Sevastopol in person to visit a new art school and a newly opened children’s center. The two buildings are just the beginning of what will be a municipal park dedicated to children.

The visit to a project dedicated to children may have been chosen by Putin in response to accusations of deporting minors from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Accusation made by the International Criminal Court, for which an arrest warrant was issued against the Russian president. While Moscow believes it is not subject to the Court’s decisions, its chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, says Putin can be tried in the same way that Nazi war criminals and former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic were tried. “All of them were powerful individuals and yet they ended up in court,” Khan emphasized.

Meanwhile, the extension of the wheat deal is at the center of the back and forth between Kiev and Moscow. Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov announces a 120-day extension. Extension, although without specifying the duration, also guaranteed by Turkish President Erdogan, who already mediated the initial signing of the agreement that allows Ukraine to export its cereals safely through the Black Sea. Moscow reiterates, however, that the agreement was extended for only 60 days and that the possibility of further extending the agreement will only come with the “promotion of Russian food and fertilizers in global markets”.

From Bakhmut, where clashes between Ukrainian troops and Russian troops continue, group leader Wagner Prigozhin makes it known that he intends to recruit around 30,000 new fighters to be used in his battalion. Meanwhile, the United States confirmed the use of Chinese munitions by Russian soldiers, although it remains unclear whether they were sent to Russia directly from Beijing or through intermediary countries.

In Kiev, in a new wave of high-level government changes, Oleksandr Kamyshyn and Oksen Lisovoy were appointed, respectively, Minister of Strategic Industries and Minister of Education and Science. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelensky approved new sanctions against 141 legal entities and 300 natural persons. Among them also appears Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Source: IL Tempo