Putin’s Kyrgyzstan visit to be first abroad since ICC warrant

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Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Kyrgyzstan next week, authorities in the Central Asian country said Wednesday, in his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him.
Putin has not left Russia since The Hague-based court issued the warrant in March over the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
“By the invitation of the president of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov on October 12 the president of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to our country,” the Kyrgyz news agency Kabar reported, citing an official from the presidential office.
Putin is due to visit a Russian air base in the city of Kant, east of the capital Bishkek, for the 20th anniversary of its opening, Russian media reported.
The long-time leader has rarely left Russia since launching a full-scale military offensive against Ukraine in February 2022.
He last traveled abroad in December last year, when he visited both Kyrgyzstan and Moscow’s neighbor Belarus.
Kyrgyzstan has not ratified the Rome Statute, a treaty obliging members to adhere to the International Criminal Court’s decisions.
Since March, ICC members are expected to make the arrest if the Russian leader sets foot on their territory.
Putin did not attend the BRICS summit hosted by South Africa — a member of the ICC — in July.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in Armenia approved a key step toward joining the ICC, angering Moscow.