Vladimir Putin makes surprise visit to Russian-occupied Mariupol

KEY POINTSPresident Vladimir Putin has made a shock go to to Russian-occupied Mariupol in Ukraine’s Donbas area.Mariupol was Russia’s first main victory after Mr Putin launched his full-scale invasion in February final 12 months. The Russian president travelled round a number of districts of the town, making stops and speaking to residents.President Vladimir Putin has made a shock go to to Mariupol, Russian state media reported, in what could be the Kremlin chief’s first journey to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine’s Donbas area because the begin of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.The go to got here after Mr Putin travelled to on Saturday in an unannounced go to to mark the ninth anniversary of , and simply two days after for the Russian chief.Mariupol, after one of many battle’s longest and bloodiest battles, was Russia’s first main victory after it did not seize Kyiv and targeted as a substitute on southeastern Ukraine.Mr Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol, Russian information businesses reported, citing the Kremlin.It’s the closest to the entrance traces Mr Putin has been throughout .Driving a automobile, Mr Putin travelled round a number of districts of the town, making stops and speaking to residents.Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, was diminished to a smouldering shell after weeks of combating.The Group for Safety and Co-operation and Europe (OSCE) mentioned Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was a battle crime.The ICC on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Mr Putin, accusing him of the battle crime of illegally deporting a whole lot of youngsters from Ukraine, a extremely symbolic transfer that additional isolates the Russian chief.Whereas has made various journeys to the battlefield to spice up the morale of his troops and discuss technique, Mr Putin has largely remained contained in the Kremlin whereas operating what Russia calls its “particular army operation” in Ukraine.Kyiv and its allies say the invasion, , is an imperialistic land seize that has killed 1000’s and displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals in Ukraine.Within the Nevsky district of Mariupol, a brand new residential neighbourhood constructed by the Russian army, Mr Putin visited a household of their dwelling, Russian media reported.”The pinnacle of state additionally examined the shoreline of Mariupol within the space of the yacht membership, the theatre constructing, memorable locations of the town,” the Interfax company mentioned, citing the Kremlin’s press service.Mariupol is within the Donetsk area, one in all 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 most important battle in Europe for generations.Russian media reported on Sunday that Mr Putin additionally met with the highest commander of his army operation in Ukraine, Chief of the Normal Workers Valery Gerasimov.