Putin in Crimea to mark nine years of annexation – one day after war crimes arrest warrant | world news

Putin ‘unfazed and shameless’ despite war crimes accusation

John Sparks

international correspondent


Russian President Vladimir Putin is now subject to arrest in 123 countries – but he knows no one will detain him in Crimea.

The peninsula was taken from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia’s longtime leader has returned to mark the 9th anniversary of its annexation.

It’s a great place to see – and be seen.

Putin looked unfazed and unapologetic a day after he was indicted by the International Criminal Court for the forcible deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

And that was almost certainly the point.

“It’s good,” he said, as he was led through an arts complex renovated by local dignitaries.

“What is an art school altogether? He asked.

“An art school and a camp for children. We have agreed to select very gifted children,” replied a local priest.

He does not seem concerned that the President and Russian Commissioner for Children, Maria Lvova-Belova, are wanted for the actual kidnapping of more than 100 children.

The allegation must be easy to prove.

In a nationally broadcast meeting, Putin and Lvova-Belova casually discuss how she adopted a 15-year-old Ukrainian boy.

According to the former UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, the indictments are a sign of intent on the part of the judges of the criminal court.

“I think for many international criminal lawyers it is a refreshing and encouraging sign that Prosecutor (Karim Ahmad) Khan is making the decision here to prosecute first, a case he knows he can prove with very little difficulty. But as I said, more charges will follow.”

Mr. Emmerson says the ICC has sent a powerful message to all those involved in war crimes in Ukraine, whether committed in the past or planned in the future.

“The court and the prosecutor have decided that the indictment should be made public immediately, no doubt sending a very clear signal that those responsible for the crimes of this war will be held accountable before an international criminal tribunal.”


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