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Putin visits Mariupol as a part of shock tour of occupied Ukraine

Putin visits Mariupol as a part of shock tour of occupied Ukraine

Putin visits Mariupol as a part of shock tour of occupied Ukraine

By Lidia Kelly

(Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin made a shock weekend go to to the war-ravaged port of Mariupol, state media reported, the Kremlin chief’s first journey to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine’s Donbas area for the reason that battle started.

The go to got here after Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced go to to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and simply two days after the Worldwide Legal Court docket (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian chief.

Putin is but to remark publicly on the ICC warrant, however his journeys into Ukrainian territory claimed by Russia was seen by some observers as an act of defiance.

Mariupol fell in Might after one of many struggle’s longest and bloodiest battles, marking Russia’s first main victory after it did not seize Kyiv and centered as a substitute on southeastern Ukraine

The Group for Safety and Cooperation and Europe (OSCE) mentioned Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital there was a struggle crime.

Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol for “a working journey”, Russian information businesses reported citing the Kremlin. He travelled round a number of districts of the town, making stops and speaking to residents.

It’s the closest to the entrance traces Putin has been for the reason that year-long struggle started.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant on Friday towards Putin, accusing him of the struggle crime of illegally deporting a whole bunch of youngsters from Ukraine, a extremely symbolic transfer that isolates the Russian chief additional.

Whereas Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has made various journeys to the battlefield to spice up the morale of his troops and discuss technique, Putin has largely remained contained in the Kremlin whereas operating what Russia calls its “particular navy operation” in Ukraine.

Kyiv and its allies say the invasion, now in its thirteenth month, is an imperialistic land seize that has killed 1000’s and displaced thousands and thousands of individuals in Ukraine.

‘BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN’

Within the Nevsky district of Mariupol, Putin visited a household of their house, Russian media reported. The brand new residential neighbourhood has been constructed by Russian navy with first folks transferring in final September.

Residents have been “actively” returning, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who accompanied Putin, was cited as saying by Russian businesses.

Mariupol had a inhabitants of half 1,000,000 folks earlier than the struggle and was house to the Azovstal metal plant, one in all Europe’s largest.

“The downtown has been badly broken,” Khusnullin mentioned. “We need to end (reconstruction) of the centre by the top of the yr, at the very least the facade half. The centre could be very lovely.”

Russian media broadcast movies displaying the Russian chief driving a automobile at night time by a built-up space in addition to strolling into what media mentioned was the philharmonic, restored in simply three months.

There was additionally no instant response to the go to from Kyiv.

Mariupol is within the Donetsk area, one of many 4 areas Putin moved in September to annex. Kyiv and its Western allies condemned the transfer as unlawful. Donetsk, along with the Luhansk area, comprise many of the Donbas industrialised a part of Ukraine that has seen the largest battle in Europe for generations.

Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin additionally met with the highest commander of his navy operation in Ukraine, together with Chief of the Common Employees Valery Gerasimov who’s answerable for Moscow’s struggle in Ukraine.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Enhancing by Lincoln Feast)


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