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Putin’s Great Escape: Russian Leader Risks Arrest on Secret Trip Abroad

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Oct. 13 2023, Published 12:03 p.m. ET

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's first exit from his country since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest was shrouded in extreme security.

During his visit to the former Soviet vassal, Kyrgyzstan, its capital city of Bishkek was plagued by cellular network outages and internet disruptions, reported.

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Putin's visit to the Central Asian country was meant as a demonstration of defiance and bravery in the face of his arrest warrant.

Be the latter as it may, the measures to ensure his safety told a different story.

The Moscow Times reported, “Planning for the trip lasted more than a month, with anti-terrorist security a key focus, a Russian government source said. Another source close to the Kremlin who previously served in the security services confirmed this information.”

During the planning phases, Russian and Kyrgyz authorities hammered out an agreement to install protection against drones and restrictions on mobile communications.

Additionally, Kyrgyz citizens were advised not to use personal vehicles, and electric scooters were removed from the streets.

Educational institutions in the capital were shifted to remote learning for the duration of the visit.

The publication also quoted a source saying: “Traveling is not safe at the moment. We bear in mind the desperation and treachery of the Ukrainians and the fact that they are being aided by the West.”

These measures are believed to have been the pre-conditions for Putin's visit. And Kyrgyzstan complied because, as Berlin-based expert, Timur Umarov, put it: “The leadership of this country is actively trying to prove its loyalty to the Kremlin.”

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During the visit, Putin engaged in a series of meetings and ceremonies. He presented the Kyrgyz President, Sadyr Japarov, with the Russian Order of Honor and received a traditional Kyrgyz yurt and a horse in return.

The two leaders also announced the creation of a joint regional air defense system between Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

“We have gathered here to solemnly celebrate a rather significant anniversary – the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian joint military airbase in the city of Kant of the Kyrgyz Republic,” Putin said in a speech. “This is an important milestone for our cooperation on defense and strengthening of regional security in general with our Kyrgyz friends,” per The Eurasian Times.

The Moscow Times pointed out that while on the surface, the main purpose of Putin's trip was to attend the summit of the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), another motive for visiting Kyrgyzstan was to slow the ebb of the Kremlin's influence in the area.

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Russia, apparently, has lost face for its inability to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and Armenia’s absence at the conference seemed to testify to this.

Additionally, Russia’s protracted war in Ukraine has cast a shadow of doubt on Putin's capabilities.


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