An unexpected visit of Vladimir Putin to Mariupol on Saturday, March 19, after a stop in the Crimea. “indicates that the Kremlin is trying to conduct business as usual” two days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an international arrest warrant charging the Russian president with war crimes for kidnapping and deporting Ukrainian children. New York Times.

Vladimir Putin traveled to several districts of Mariupol to inspect the progress of the reconstruction of this Ukrainian city, which was “one of the most successful in the country” before the Russian invasion sank it”in one of the fiercest urban battles of recent decades.” It was the Kremlin ruler’s second unannounced trip to Russian-occupied areas this weekend: his trip to Crimea on Saturday was timed to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the illegal annexation of the peninsula by Russia., indicates daily.

“The places are deeply symbolic: this is Mr. Putin’s first trip since the start of the war to this region of Donbass, located in eastern Ukraine, full control of which is the stated goal of Russian forces.”

These two visits received wide publicity. “provocative gestures” from the Kremlin less than 48 hours after the issuance of the international ICC arrest warrant, but also on the eve of the visit to Moscow by the number one Chinese Xi Jinping.

Xi in Moscow: visit ‘essentially interested’

The ICC decision is unlikely to lead to the arrest and trial of the Russian president in the foreseeable future, the British weekly notes. Observer. But she guarantees that from now on it will be “subject to arrest in 123 states recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICC” – which cannot be said for sure about China, the weekly emphasizes.

“A more principled leader could cancel his trip. But Xi also has blood on his hands in Xinjiang, where he is accused of overseeing genocide and crimes against humanity.

China says Xi’s visit gives Beijing an opportunity to sway Vladimir Putin into peace talks, but in reality the visit “essentially self-serving.” Beijing strives to present itself as an honest intermediary, but this does not inspire confidence, analyzes Observer. “Xi does not want Putin to fail. But he does not want Russia to win.” A prolonged conflict that distracts and exhausts the United States, China’s main rival, while at the same time dividing Europe and NATO: this is what best suits the goals of the Chinese president:

“Xi is using his alliance with Russia to weaken and thwart the United States. A smarter and stronger leader than Putin would understand Xi’s game. But Putin is neither smart nor strong, and the unspoken message that the ICC indictment sends to Russians is that his days in power are numbered.”