Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Mariupol according to Russian state media report on Sunday, which would be his first visit to the Russian-controlled regions of the Donbas since the start of the war.
The visit comes after Putin traveled to Crimea on Saturday on an unannounced visit to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and just two days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him.
Mariupol, which fell to Russia in May after one of its longest and bloodiest battles, was Russia’s first major victory after it failed to capture Kiev and focused instead on southeastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin says, that the Russian President Vladimir Putin had flown to Mariupol by helicopter… It’s the closest point to the front lines of the war that President Putin has visited since the military operation war a year ago.
The Russia President, drove a car by himself and traveled, around several areas in the city, and stopped and talked to the residents.
The Russian media reported that Putin visited a family at their home in the Nevsky district of Mariupol, a new residential neighborhood built by the Russian army there.
The head of state also examined the coast of Mariupol in the area of the yacht club, the theater building and memorable places in the city.
The city of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, had turned into a flashpoint after weeks of fighting.
The city is located in Donetsk region, which is one of the four regions that Russia annexed in September.
The Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with the top leadership of his military operation in Ukraine, including Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of Russian forces in Ukraine.