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Russian President Vladimir Putin visits occupied Mariupol city

Kyiv – Visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin Occupied port city of MariupolRussia’s state news agency reported Sunday on his first trip to Ukrainian territory that Moscow illegally annexed in September.

Earlier Saturday, Putin went to CrimeaIt marks the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine, a short distance southwest of Mariupol. It became a global symbol of defiance after overwhelmed Ukrainian forces held out at steelworks there.

The visit, which included chatting with locals in Mariupol and visiting art schools and children’s centers in Crimea, was a sign of defiance by the Russian leader two days after the court. issued a warrant for his arrest on war crime charges. Putin has not commented on the arrest warrant, which has deepened his international isolation, even though he is unlikely to be brought to justice anytime soon.

travel is also Plan to visit Moscow Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to give Putin a major diplomatic boost this week in his confrontation with the West.

Russian reports said Putin arrived in Mariupol by helicopter and drove around the city’s “monuments”, concert halls and coastline, though the exact timing of the visit was not specified. Russia’s state television, Russia 24, aired on Sunday showing Putin chatting with locals outside a newly built apartment complex, giving a tour of one of the apartments.

After his visit to Mariupol, Putin met with Russian military leaders and troops at a command post in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, according to Russian state media.

Sunday’s Russia 24 Channel reported that Putin was greeted by Valery Gerasimov, the top Moscow officer in charge of the war in Ukraine, and shown to a room where Gerasimov’s second-in-command and a group of uniformed men were waiting. showed that We were unable to independently verify the circumstances under which the video was taken.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Sunday that the visit was not foretold and that Putin intends to “inspect the work of the (command) post in normal operational mode.” rice field.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Husnulin said on Sunday, speaking to the state-run RIA agency, that Russia would remain in Mariupol. He said he hopes the government will finish rebuilding the bombed-out downtown by the end of the year.

“People started coming back. Seeing the rebuilding going on, people started coming back actively,” Kusnurin told the RIA.

When Moscow completely overran the city in May, an estimated 100,000 remained of its pre-war population of 450,000. Many were trapped without access to food, water, heating or electricity. Constant shelling left rows of shattered or hollowed out buildings.

Mariupol’s plight was first noticed Russian airstrikes on maternity hospitals On March 9 last year, less than two weeks after Russian troops moved into Ukraine, a week later, about 300 people were reportedly killed in a bombing of a theater that served as the city’s largest air raid shelter. I was. Evidence AP obtained last spring said: The actual death toll could be closer to 600.

A small group of Ukrainian fighters lasted 83 days At the sprawling Azokhstan Ironworks east of Mariupol, their tenacious defense held up Russian forces before surrendering and became a symbol of Ukraine’s tenacity in the face of Moscow’s invasion.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move most of the world denounced as illegal, following a referendum that Kiev and the West said was a hoax, last September to the south of Ukraine. It has moved to formally claim the four eastern regions as Russian territory.

The ICC on Friday accused Putin of taking personal responsibility for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine. UN investigators also said there was evidence that “hundreds” of Ukrainian children had been deported to Russia. According to Ukrainian government statistics, more than 16,000 children have been deported to Russian-controlled territories or to Russia itself, many of them from Mariupol.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/03/19/russian-president-putin-visits-occupied-city-of-mariupol/ Russian President Vladimir Putin visits occupied Mariupol city

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