Putin visited the occupied Donbas for the first time since the beginning of the war
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in occupied Mariupol, TASS reported. This is his first trip to the occupied territories of Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale war.
Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter, and then by car drove through several districts of the city, the agency writes. The Kremlin’s press service later added that the president had inspected the coast in the area of the yacht club, theater building and memorial sites. Putin was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnulin, who “reported detailed information to the president about the progress of construction and restoration work in the city and its vicinity.”
The RIA Novosti agency published a video in which Putin and Chusnulin drive by car through the annexed Mariupol. A government official then showed the president the concert hall of the Mariupol Philharmonic, reportedly repaired after Russian shelling.
The Kremlin claims that Putin also spoke with local residents of the Nevsky district and even went to one of the families at home.
Later, the Zvezda TV channel published a video in which Putin talks to a small group of people in the courtyard of a multi-story building. They said that they got apartments in this building, which was probably built after the partitions.
“By the way, Vladimir Vladimirovich, my birthday is 15 days after yours, also 70, but I left without anything. So they gave me an apartment…” – one of the alleged inhabitants of the occupied city told the president. A woman, also a resident of Mariupol, interrupted him with the words: “And now everything is here!”
Khusnulin also told the president how, after the capture of Mariupol by Russian troops, the hospital had to be cleared of mines, where medical devices, equipment and even corpses were allegedly excavated. “Well, these are the so-called Nazis. Normal people wouldn’t do that,” Putin replied.
After visiting Mariupol, the president went to command post of the Russian army in Rostov-on-Don, RIA Novosti reported. There he listened to reports Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and other military leaders.
On March 18, for the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Putin arrived in Crimea on the ninth anniversary of its annexation. It was his first visit to the peninsula since the beginning of the war.