October 11, MOSCOW – Vladimir Putin is scheduled to go to Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, according to the country’s presidential office. This will be the Russian president’s first known overseas trip since an arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court.
Putin is believed to have left Russia since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him in March on suspicion of forcibly transferring groups of children from Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s encroachment of Ukraine in early 2022, Putin has traveled abroad only infrequently. These accusations are refuted by the Kremlin.
“On October 12, 2023, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, is scheduled to embark on an official visit to the Kyrgyz Republic, in response to an invitation extended by the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov,” the Kyrgyz presidential administration stated in a statement on its website.
Although Putin and Japarov agreed to a visit to Kyrgyzstan in May, the Russian president’s trip is scheduled to take place on Thursday, but the Kremlin has not yet provided an official confirmation.
Next week, the Russian president is scheduled to visit China for the third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. The ICC was founded to bring war crimes cases, yet neither China nor Kyrgyzstan are recognized as members of the organization.
A criminal prosecution has been started against the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the panel of judges who granted the order by Moscow, which rejects the ICC’s accusations and claims the warrant is proof of the West’s animosity toward Russia.
COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATE SUMMIT
According to the Kyrgyz presidential office, Putin will also participate in events honoring the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of an air station in Kant, referring to the location, it is in proximity to the 999th Air Base of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In a related development, the presidential office of Kyrgyzstan announced on Tuesday that Japarov was informed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that he would not be attending Friday’s Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) meeting in Bishkek. According to the office, Pashinyan informed Japarov over the phone that he would be unable to attend because of “a variety of issues.”
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of post-Soviet countries, including Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, founded the CIS. Putin, according to Japarov’s office, intended to attend the conference. Since Moscow invaded Ukraine and Armenia decided to submit to the International Criminal Court’s authority, relations between the two countries have deteriorated significantly.
As Armenia’s neighbor Azerbaijan retook Nagorno-Karabakh last month—a area that ethnic Armenians had governed for thirty years, the majority of whom have since fled—Armenia additionally accused Russia of passivity.
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan canceled a meeting with Pashinyan that was arranged by the EU last week, after which Brussels declared its support for Armenia. On Tuesday, Pashinyan announced that preparations were underway for an appointment with the president of Azerbaijan to talk about a long-term peace agreement.