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Putin visits Crimea on annexation anniversary, day after ICC warrant


Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev visit the Children's Art and Aesthetic center in Sevastopol, Crimea, March 18, 2023. [AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to a report Sunday from the Russian state news agency Tass.

Putin traveled to Crimea on Saturday on the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded Russia’s withdrawal from Crimea and all areas it has occupied since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which entered its second year in February.

Saturday’s trip also came the day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest, charging him with being personally responsible for the abduction of children from Ukraine in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian leader visited an art center and a children’s center in Crimea.

The International Monetary Fund said Friday its executive board has approved changes to its financing policy aimed at countries facing “exceptionally high uncertainty.”

The measure is widely viewed as a way to open a new loan program for Ukraine as it enters the second year of fighting Russia.

The IMF said in a statement, “The changes apply in situations of exceptionally high uncertainty, involving exogenous shocks that are beyond the control of country authorities and the reach of their economic policies, and which generate larger-than-usual tail risks.”

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