Putin flies to Crimea for surprise visit on annexation anniversaryDPA
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an an unannounced visit to Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine, a move most of the world condemned as illegal. “Our president ... knows how to surprise in the best sense of the word,” the Moscow-appointed governor of the port city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on his Telegram channel. Putin’s visit came a day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Russian state television broadcast footage of the Russian leader opening an art school for children in the city. Putin also visited a children’s educational camp at the excavation site of the ancient Chersonesus, also inside present-day Sevastopol. It was his first visit to Crimea on the March 18 anniversary since 2020, when he presented medals to construction workers on the Kerch Bridge connecting the peninsula and mainland Russia. In 2021 and In 2022, Putin marked the occasion at concerts in Moscow. Putin has generally avoided areas close to the fighting in Ukraine.