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Putin visits Crimea as Ukraine grain deal extended – Times of India

Moscow: Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin On Saturday, he visited Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation, a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him over alleged crimes. Ukraine conflict.
Turkey announced an extension of a deal that then allowed Ukraine to export grain RussiaAttack, but Kiev and Moscow disagree about the length of the extension.
Putin’s surprise visit to Crimea was his first to the peninsula since he sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 last year, except when he drove across the bridge connecting the region to mainland Russia last December.
Russian state television showed him visiting the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, accompanied by the local Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvogayev.
Razovugayev said on the Telegram messaging app that Putin was expected to take part in the opening of an art school for children via a video link.
“But Vladimir Vladimirovich came himself. Behind the wheel. Because on such a historic day, the president is always with Sevastopol and the Sevastopol people,” he said.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after a referendum, which was not recognized by Kiev and the international community.
Speaking at the Davos Forum in January, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine aimed to reclaim Crimea as “our land”. Moscow has refused to include it in potential peace talks.
– ICC ‘invalid’ warrant – Putin’s visit came a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him over the “deportation” of Ukrainian children.
Kiev says more than 16,000 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia since the conflict began last year, many of them placed in institutions and foster homes.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, told AFP on Friday that Putin was now responsible for arrest if he set foot in any of the court’s more than 120 member states.
The 70-year-old Russian leader has not commented publicly on the memo.
But the Kremlin rejected the memorandum’s legal validity, arguing that since Russia did not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, it was “invalid”.
The Hague-based court’s decision came ahead of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow next week to sign agreements heralding a new era in relations. Xi will be in Russia from Monday to Wednesday.
China, a major ally of Russia, has sought to position itself as a neutral party, urging Moscow and Kiev to resolve the conflict through negotiations.
But Western leaders have repeatedly criticized Beijing for failing to condemn the Russian offensive, accusing it of providing Moscow with diplomatic cover for its campaign.
– Grain deal extended – In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said both sides had agreed to extend the deal that allowed Ukraine, a major grain exporter, to resume shipments.
But there was disagreement about the terms.
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister said the deal had been extended by 120 days, but a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Moscow had agreed to extend it by 60 days.
Warships closed Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after Russia sent troops last year.
The deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 — and signed by Kiev and Moscow — allowed safe passage for exports. It was extended by 120 days in November.
Fighting on the ground is concentrated in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, particularly the city of Bakhmut.
The region’s governor, Pavlo Kirilenko, who accused Moscow of using cluster bombs in the attack, said Russian strikes hit the nearby city of Kramatorsk on Saturday, killing two people and wounding 10.
He said Russian forces targeted a park and damaged “dozens of residential buildings”.
AFP journalists in Kramatorsk heard about 10 explosions go off simultaneously just before 4:00 pm local time (1400 GMT) and saw smoke billowing over a park in the southern part of the city.
They saw a woman who died at the scene of her injuries.

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