Putin visits Mariupol after child abduction arrest warrant

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Russian state media reported that resident Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the war-torn port of Mariupol.

This is the Kremlin leader’s first visit to the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donbass region since the conflict began.

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Russian news agencies said Mr Putin arrived in Mariupol by helicopter and then drove himself around the city’s “monumental sites”, concert halls and the beach.

He also met residents of the city’s Nevsky district.


The Standard has not independently verified these reports.

Putin traveled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

It is the closest Putin has been to the front lines since the year-long war began.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Friday that it has issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest. alleged war crimes Including the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. This means he can now be arrested if he sets foot in any of the court’s 123 member states.

Putin has yet to publicly comment on the ICC warrant.

Mariupol fell in May after one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the war, marking Russia’s first major victory after it failed to capture Kiev and instead focused on southeastern Ukraine.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the initial bombing of the maternity hospital by Russia was a war crime.

Ukraine says some 20,000 people have been killed in Mariupol during the conflict.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin on Friday, accusing him of war crimes for illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine, a highly symbolic move that further alienates the Russian leader.

While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made several trips to the battlefield to boost the morale of his troops and talk strategy, Putin has remained inside the Kremlin while Russia conducts its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Is.

Kiev and its allies say the invasion, now in its 13th month, is an imperialist land grab that has killed thousands and displaced millions in Ukraine.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusulin, who accompanied Putin, said residents were “actively” returning to Mariupol.

Before the war, Mariupol had a population of half a million and was home to the Azovstal Steel Plant, one of Europe’s largest.

“The city has been badly damaged,” Khusnullin said. “We want to finish (the reconstruction) of the center by the end of the year, at least for the facade part. The center is very beautiful.

Russian media aired video showing the Russian leader driving a car at night through a built-up area as well as what the media said was the Philharmonic, which had been restored in only three months.

There was also no immediate reaction to the visit to Kiev.

Mariupol is in the Donetsk region, one of four regions that Putin moved in September. Kiev and its Western allies called the move illegal. Donetsk, along with the Luhansk region, comprises most of the Donbass industrialized part of Ukraine which has seen the biggest fighting in Europe for generations.

Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with top commanders of its military operation in Ukraine, including Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Putin visits Mariupol after child abduction arrest warrant

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