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Russian dictator goes to Crimea to mark 9-year anniversary of illegal annexation

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Saturday on a supposedly unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. Ironically, the war criminal accused of kidnapping countless Ukrainian children opened a children’s arts-and-crafts center in Sevastopol.

Putin was greeted by the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and taken to see a new children’s center and art school on what the official said was a surprise visit.

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State media did not immediately broadcast any remarks from Putin, a day after the International Criminal Court said it had issued an arrest warrant against him and accused him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.

Putin has yet to comment publicly on the move, however, Russian officials were sent into hysterics, decrying the move as “null and void” and saying that Russia finds the very questions raised by the ICC to be “outrageous and unacceptable”.

Russia seized Crimea in 2014, eight years before launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The operation was carried out by “little green men”, Russian troops without national markings. The peninsula was then annexed following a referendum organized illegally in contravention of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum guaranteeing the territorial integrity of several post-Soviet states, including Ukraine, in exchange for them giving up the nuclear arsenal they inherited from the Soviet military.

The other original signatories of the Memorandum were signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia.

Ukraine says it will fight to expel Russia from Crimea and all other territories that Russia has occupied.

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