Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, which was seized from Ukraine. Russian state media reported this information on Sunday.
This is Putin’s first visit to the Russian-held Donbass since neighboring Ukraine launched a special military operation last year. He made the visit two days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him on charges of war crimes.
An official video showed Putin driving through the streets of Mariupol at night and talking to local residents. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khasnalin was with him at the time. However, it was not confirmed when this video footage was captured.
Russian media reported that during the visit, Putin met with top military commanders in the city of Rostov-on-Don, east of Mariupol.
Putin traveled to Mariupol by helicopter, Tass news agency reported. He visited the Philharmonic Hall. It was used to prosecute the guards of the Azovstal iron and steel plant. Ukrainian troops stormed the industrial complex before finally surrendering.
Mariupol, devastated by the longest and bloodiest war, has been under Russian control for more than 10 months. Ukraine claims that more than 20,000 people have been killed there.
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