Russia laid siege to Mariupol as it launched its offensive last year, obliterating the Azovstal steel works. But today, Vladimir Putin sets foot in the fallen city, undoubtedly to ascertain the magnitude of destruction that his country has wrought upon it.
Well, well, well, looks like Vladimir Putin decided to grace Mariupol with his presence. State media reported on Sunday that the Russian President made a surprise visit to the city, his first since its capture after a lengthy siege during Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine. And what a surprise it was, especially since the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently issued an arrest warrant for Putin over allegations of deporting thousands of Ukrainian children during the conflict. Talk about bold moves, eh?
Let’s not forget what happened to Mariupol, which was besieged by Russia last year, leaving the city in ruins, including the destruction of the Azovstal steel works – the last stronghold of the Ukrainian forces in the area. Vladimir Putin arrived in Mariupol via helicopter on Saturday, taking a tour of the city and even driving a car at times. He spoke with residents and received a report on the city’s reconstruction work, as if he was there to check on his handy work.
But that wasn’t enough for Vladimir Putin. He then decided to hop over to Crimea to celebrate the ninth anniversary of its annexation. Accompanied by the Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev, Vladimir Putin visited the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol and even surprised everyone by showing up to participate in the opening of a children’s art school by himself. Who needs video links, am I right?
Let’s remember that Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, following a referendum that Kyiv and the international community refused to acknowledge. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed his goal of reclaiming Crimea during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January. However, Moscow has been reluctant to include it in possible peace talks.
Vladimir Putin’s visit to Mariupol and Crimea is a clear indication of Russia’s ongoing aggression towards Ukraine and defiance of international norms. The destruction and devastation that occurred in Mariupol are a stark reminder of the brutal tactics used by Russia to achieve its territorial ambitions. It’s time for the international community to hold Russia accountable for its actions and ensure that justice is served for the victims of this conflict.
ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin over Deportation of Ukrainian Children: An Ongoing Conflict
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) recent decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin adds to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The allegations of Russia’s deportation of over 16,000 Ukrainian children since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022 have caused immense distress to affected families. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan’s statement that Vladimir Putin is now liable for arrest in any of the court’s more than 120 member states is a clear indication that the international community will not tolerate such actions.
However, Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Mariupol and Crimea demonstrates Russia’s ongoing aggression towards Ukraine and its defiance of international norms.
China’s Role as a Neutral Party
As Xi Jinping visits Moscow to solidify closer ties between Russia and China, China has positioned itself as a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, urging Moscow and Kyiv to open negotiations. Despite international pressure, China’s stance has been criticized by Western leaders for failing to condemn Russia’s offensive and for providing Moscow with diplomatic cover.
The visit to Mariupol and Crimea highlights that Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions remain unchanged, and the international community must hold Russia accountable for its actions and ensure justice for the victims of this conflict.
Turkey brokers extension of Ukraine-Russia grain deal: Maintaining Ukraine’s position as a major grain exporter
Turkey is back at it again with the Ukraine-Russia grain deal extension. In July 2022, Turkey and the United Nations negotiated an agreement that allowed Ukraine, a top grain exporter, to resume exports despite the Black Sea ports blockade by Russian warships. And now, with the conflict raging in the eastern Donetsk region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brokered yet another extension of the deal. However, the terms are up for debate. Ukraine’s infrastructure minister claims the extension is 120 days, but Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman says it’s only 60 days. While this is a temporary respite, it’s essential to keep Ukraine’s grain exports going. After all, we all love our carbs.
The ongoing conflict
With the fighting concentrated in Bakhmut, the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, Russian strikes hit nearby Kramatorsk, killing two people and injuring 10. According to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the regional governor, Moscow used cluster bombs in the attack. Witnesses report hearing around ten explosions go off simultaneously and seeing smoke rise above the southern part of the city. Unfortunately, the extension of the grain deal does not solve the underlying conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The international community must prioritize finding a lasting solution to bring peace and stability to the region.