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Putin Arrives in Kyrgyzstan for First Foreign Visit Since ICC Warrant

Akylbek Zhaparov, chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, welcomes President Vladimir Putin at Manas International Airport. Pavel Bednyakov / POOL / TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kyrgyzstan early Thursday, marking his first trip abroad since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest.

Putin has seldom traveled abroad since invading Ukraine in February 2022 and has until now remained inside the country since the March 2023 ICC warrant.

Though Kyrgyzstan is a signatory to the ICC, it has not ratified its founding treaty known as the Rome Statute, which would require Bishkek to arrest any individuals wanted by the ICC on its soil.

In July, Putin skipped out on a BRICS summit in South Africa, which is an ICC member.

The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges over the alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia during Moscow's invasion of its neighbor.

Putin’s two-day visit to the ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia involves talks with regional counterparts and attendance at the annual summit of the Moscow-led regional grouping known as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Photographs published by the Kyrgyz government showed Putin being greeted by the country’s chairman of the cabinet of ministers instead of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov.

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left him isolated internationally, Putin has continued to wield influence over former Soviet republics.

Kyrgyzstan said Tuesday that Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan will skip the CIS summit amid a growing rift between Yerevan and Moscow.

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