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Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea on Saturday to celebrate the ninth anniversary of its annexation from Ukraine despite being issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday over alleged war crimes in the Eastern European country.
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, posted a video to Twitter of Putin, claiming that the Russian leader was “visibly limping” during his visit.
Putin’s health has been questioned in recent months, with armchair diagnoses of the Russian leader gaining traction since the war began last year. In the past, social media users and analysts have tried to interpret footage that showed him apparently limping across Red Square, clinging to his desk, and displaying a listless right arm.
“A visibly limping Putin arrived in occupied Crimea Russian sources report Putin’s visit to Sevastopol to ‘celebrate’ the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. Which, by the way, will be one of the items on Putin’s list of accusations at The Hague Court,” Gerashchenko wrote on Saturday.
Still, Putin’s alleged health conditions didn’t seem to hinder or impact the course of the war in Ukraine, where the battle between his forces and Ukrainian troops extended throughout major cities, including Kyiv, Odessa, and Kherson. Most recently, the fight has intensified in Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, which has been the site of a months-long battle between Russian and paramilitary forces against Ukrainian troops.
There is still no end to the war in sight, but Western nations, including the United States, continue to supply Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid. Kyiv also has recently reiterated its commitment to take back Crimea, which was violently and illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian media has recently reported that Russian forces in the annexed Crimean peninsula could be “preparing for a possible so-called forced evacuation.” Since its annexation, Crimea has seen human rights violations and a crackdown on dissent by Russian authorities, according to a report by Amnesty International, which is an international organization focused on human rights.
Calls for investigating Putin’s war crimes grew louder after the Russian leader declared war on Ukraine, but the Friday ICC arrest warrant is the first formal international charge since his invasion on the war-torn country.
The court, which Russia does not recognize, but prosecutes those accused of war crimes, charged Putin with unlawfully abducting and transporting Ukrainian children and teens to Russia, where many have been adopted by Russian families. An arrest warrant was also issued for Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
Forced deportation of populations is recognized as a crime under the Rome statute, which Russia signed, but withdrew from in 2016.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign affairs ministry via email for comment.
‘Visibly Limping’ Putin Visits Crimea Amid ICC Warrant: Ukraine Official
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