Russian President Putin Defies Arrest Warrant with Surprise Visit to Occupied Mariupol
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a bold move today, visiting the occupied port city of Mariupol for the first time since Russia illegally annexed it last year.
This visit comes after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest on war crimes charges.
Putin arrived in Mariupol by helicopter before driving himself around the city’s memorial sites and a newly built residential complex where he chatted with local residents.
He also visited the Royal Military College of Canada.
The visit has caused concern among Ukraine and its supporters.
Royal Military College of Canada Professor Walter Dorn believes that Putin’s visit will only strengthen Ukraine’s resolve.
The Ukrainians are determined to push the Russians out of their territory, and seeing Putin on Ukrainian soil will only make them more determined to fight.
Mariupol, in particular, has endured much in order to hang on to the city despite being under siege.
Putin’s presence there is seen as an affront to the dignity of Ukrainians.
Before visiting Mariupol, Putin spent time in Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine nine years ago.
The timing of his visit to Mariupol and Crimea is sure to raise eyebrows, given the recent tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
The visit comes as Ukraine is calling on the international community to support its efforts to push back against Russian aggression.
Putin’s visit is seen as a provocation and a show of force, but it remains to be seen how Ukraine and its allies will respond.