Putin visits Russian-occupied Mariupol

Published March 19th, 2023 - 09:07 GMT
Putin visits Russian-occupied Mariupol
TOPSHOT - This handout photograph taken and released by the Russian presidential press office in Sevastopol on March 18, 2023, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), flanked by Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev (C), listening to Metropolitan Tikhon Shevkunov (R), chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, as he visits the Chersonesos Taurica historical and archeological park on the 9th anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia. (Photo by HANDOUT / Russian Presidential Press Office / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE "
Putin makes surprise visit to Ukraine's Mariupol, a symbol for resistance in the Russian war.

ALBAWABA - Russian President Vladimir Putin toured Russian-occupied Mariupol in a surprise visit to Ukraine widely interpreted as a provocation to Ukraine and its Western allies.

The visit came two days after the Hague-based International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova for their alleged role in a scheme to extradite Ukrainian children to Russia.

Putin's tour is seen as a provocation to Ukraine and Western nations backing Kyiv, such as the United States. Mariupol, a symbol of resistance, has seen some of the most intense fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year. 

Putin flew in by helicopter and toured several districts in the city by car, the Kremlin said in a statement Sunday. It said the tour included the coastline near a yacht-club, a theatre and historic sites.

"The President examined several facilities in the city and talked with the locals," the statement said.

Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin briefed Putin on the "progress made in construction and repair work in the city and its suburbs," particularly, the construction of "new residential neighborhoods, social and educational facilities, housing and utilities infrastructure and medical institutions, the statement said.

It claimed that Putin mingled with local residents in the Nevsky micro-district and visited the home of one of the families at their invitation.

Putin also met with military officials at a command post of the special military operation in Rostov-on-Don, according to the statement.


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