Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the annexed Crimean peninsula for the first time since 2014, despite the threat of an arrest warrant from Ukraine.
Putin arrived in Crimea on Friday for a meeting with regional and federal officials to discuss the region’s development. He praised the ongoing investment in the region, which has been under Moscow’s control since 2014, and thanked the people of Crimea for their support.
The visit comes as Ukraine has issued an arrest warrant for Putin on charges of “state treason, violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and other grave crimes” related to his role in the annexation of Crimea.
The Ukrainian government has strongly condemned the visit, calling it a “gross violation of the state border” and an “unacceptable provocation”.
Russia, on the other hand, has defended the visit, saying that “no country has the right to prohibit the head of state of another country from entering its territory.”
Regardless, the visit has increased tensions between the two countries, and has raised the possibility of further sanctions from the international community.