On the ninth anniversary of Crimea’s annexation by Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the Art School and the Korsun children’s center in Chersonese, located on the outskirts of the port of Sevastopol, the central Russian base on the Black Sea. However, Putin’s visit is overshadowed by the recent arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court, which accuses him of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, specifically the deportation of Ukrainian children.
The allegations are an unprecedented step, being the first time that the court has asked to detain a head of state still in the exercise of his position. Furthermore, the arrest warrant comes amidst reports of explosions in Sevastopol, Crimea, which have been reported by local Telegram channels and Ukrainian media.
Sebastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev took to social media to explain that the explosions were a “military training” exercise. However, this is not the first incident to occur in Crimea since Moscow annexed the territory in 2014. In October, an explosion on the Kerch bridge linking Crimea to Russia caused the collapse of part of the structure. The bridge was inaugurated in 2020 by President Vladimir Putin.
Despite international condemnation, Moscow has continued its occupation of Crimea, which it annexed through a referendum without international recognition. However, Putin’s recent visit and the ongoing instability in the region only serve to highlight the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. As the situation continues to unfold, the international community will undoubtedly be watching closely to see how events continue to develop in Crimea.