Putin visits Crimea on the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the peninsula
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a surprise trip to Crimea on the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. The president, who had avoided setting foot in the region since his invasion of Ukraine began and only briefly toured his bridge, has arrived in the naval city of Sevastopol, where he is scheduled to participate in various tribute events.
Putin has visited a children’s art center. “Our president knows how to surprise,” said the city’s governor, Mikhail Razvozháyev. According to the senior official, the Russian president has appeared at the wheel of a car himself.
This is the first time Putin has visited Crimea since July 2020, when he presided over an event at a military shipyard in the city of Kerch. Russian military installations in that territory have been targeted by the Ukrainian army, including its air bases and the port of Sevastopol itself. Therefore, the closest he had been since then to the disputed peninsula was an express tour over the damaged Crimean bridge on December 5. Putin, so far reluctant to visit the front, toured part of the infrastructure during repair works for the attack received in October.
Putin traditionally participates every March 18 in the acts of homage to the annexation. Last year he did it in the Moscow stadium where the 2018 World Cup final was held, the Luznikí soccer field, where a mass bath took place almost two months after starting what he called a “special military operation.”
Despite the fact that the Kremlin insists that the referendum on accession to Russia was a popular initiative, Putin himself acknowledged a year after the annexation, on March 9, 2015, that all those events were the work of a plan of his services. secrets after the escape of former President Viktor Yanukovych due to the violence unleashed during the Maidan Square protests.
“I summoned the leaders of our special services and the Defense Minister in the Kremlin and gave them the mission to save the life of the President of Ukraine. We finish at seven in the morning. When we were leaving, I told them that we were obliged to start work to bring Crimea back to Russia”, Putin recounted about that meeting held on February 22, 2014. Days later, and with Ukraine destabilized with an interim government until the elections in In May, soldiers without identifiers appeared on the Black Sea peninsula, the “little green men”, as Putin called them.