Putin makes surprise visit to Crimea on 9th anniversary of its annexation

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday made an unannounced visit to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of its annexation from Ukraine, a move denounced by most countries in the world as illegal.

The Moscow-appointed governor of the port city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvogaev, said on his Telegram channel, "Our president... He knows how to surprise."

Putin's visit comes a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him for war crimes in Ukraine.

Russian state television broadcast footage of the Russian leader opening a children's art school in the city, and Putin visited a children's education camp at an archaeological excavation site in the ancient city of Chersonesos.

The Russian president's visit to Crimea on March 18 is the first of its kind since 2020, when he awarded medals to construction workers on the Kerch Bridge linking Crimea and Russia.