Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula nine years after declaring the occupation “official,” the Russian state reported on March 18.
In February 2014, Russia occupied Crimea in Ukraine with soldiers without a badge. On March 16, 2014, the Kremlin staged a mock referendum to justify its occupation, which is illegal under international law. OOn March 18, 2014, Putin announced that Crimea is part of Russia, a statement that is void, according to Ukraine and most UN members.
Putin’s visit to Crimea came a day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Putin for overseeing the “unlawful deportation of children” from Ukraine.
Ukraine said it “is only the beginning” of a long road to punishing Russia for its war crimes committed in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moscow rejected the ICC’s decision, as claimed by the State Department “Decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, not even from a legal point of view.”
The ICC’s arrest warrant allows countries that have adopted the Rome Statute to arrest Putin. Ukraine signed the statute in 2000, but has not ratified it to date.
A total of more than 16,000 children have been forcibly removed from Ukraine since the start of the large-scale invasion, according to March data.
At least 6,000 Ukrainian children deported by the invading Russian forces were forcibly taken to Russian-occupied Crimea, lawyer Kateryna Rashevska of the Regional Center for Human Rights (RCHR) told Ukrainian media Ukrinform in January.