MOSCOW, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin will visit Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the presidential office of the Central Asian country said, in what would be the Russian leader’s first known trip abroad since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Putin has rarely travelled abroad since the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 and is not known to have left Russia since the ICC issued in March a warrant for him on suspicion of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. The Kremlin denies those allegations.
“At the invitation of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sadyr Japarov, on October 12 of this year, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, will make an official visit to the country,” the Kyrgyz presidential administration said in a statement on its website.
Putin agreed in May during talks with Japarov to visit Kyrgyzstan, but there has been no official confirmation yet from the Kremlin that the Russian president will travel there on Thursday.
The Russian leader is also due to travel to China next week for the third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Neither Kyrgyzstan nor China are members of the ICC, which was established to prosecute war crimes.
Moscow denies the ICC allegations and the Kremlin said the warrant was evidence of the West’s hostility to Russia, which opened a criminal case against the ICC prosecutor and the judges who issued the warrant. (Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)