Putin visits Mariupol in first visit to occupied Donbas
Moscow, Mar 19 (EFE).- Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to the city of Mariupol, marking his first visit to Ukraine’s Russia-occupied Donbas region, the Kremlin said on Sunday.
Russian state news agency TASS quoted the presidential press office to report that the leader arrived in the city – situated in the south of the Donetsk region by the Sea of Azov – for a working visit in a helicopter.
The city had witnessed deadly fighting last year between Russian and Ukrainian forces in a battle that lasted for months.
During the visit, Putin drove a car himself and visited several neigborhoods of the city accompanied by deputy prime minister Marat Khusnullin, who informed him about the progress of construction and reconstruction work in Mariupol and nearby areas.
“In particular, the report concerned the construction of new residential districts, social and educational facilities, utility infrastructure and medical centers,” the Kremlin press service said, without revealing the duration or timeline of the visit.
Soon after, Putin’s office informed that he had also visited the military command of the “special military operation” in Ukraine in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
“The head of the state heard reports from Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and a number of military commanders,” the Kremlin said.
On Saturday, Putin had paid a surprise visit to the Crimean peninsula on the ninth anniversary of its annexation by Russia.
He inaugurated a children’s art school on the outskirts of Sevastopol, the main base of the Russian navy fleet in the Black Sea in a program widely covered by Russian media.
The series of visits to cities in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine come just after on Friday the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over his alleged responsibility for war crimes related to the ongoing conflict. EFE