Vladimir Putin visits Mariupol, first visit to the conquered territory

Vladimir Putin traveled to Mariupol, a Ukrainian city devastated by bombings, the Kremlin reported on Sunday, his first visit to a conquered territory since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s head of state is accused of the war crime of “illegal deportation” of Ukrainian children, targeted since Friday by an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We Pray for You”

The Kremlin press service said on Sunday that he flew to Mariupol by helicopter and toured the city by car. According to images broadcast by Russian public television, the visit took place at night, with Vladimir Putin being specially introduced by the night lighting of Mariupol’s streets and talking with residents. “We pray for you,” Putin assured one of the residents, adding that the town was “a little piece of paradise”.

According to the Kremlin, the Russian leader also visited a renovated local musical theater and followed the presentation of a report on reconstruction works in the devastated city.

First visit of Donbass to the conquered territory

This is his first visit to the Ukrainian port city, which was besieged by Russian forces for months before its fall in May 2022. The Russian offensive launched on February 24, 2022, which earned Moscow a series of severe international sanctions.

read this alsoUkraine: a year after the Russian attack, what is the state of the country?

According to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin also held a meeting in Rostov-on-Don (southern Russia), not far from the Ukrainian border, with Russian military officials, including the head of state- Major Valery Gerasimov. He had earlier visited Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula under international sanctions. This was his first visit to Crimea after 2021.

Crime against humanity?

The International Criminal Court based in The Hague has attempted to verify whether the bombing and siege of Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine could constitute crimes against humanity.

He concluded that he lacked the elements to reach such a conclusion, having no access to the Donetsk region, where Mariupol is located. The Kremlin has termed the ICC arrest warrant, which Moscow does not recognize jurisdiction, as “invalid and void”.

“International Criminal”

A Ukrainian presidential adviser on Sunday condemned Vladimir Putin’s “cynicism” and “lack of remorse”.

Ukrainian authorities in Mariupol, under Russian control since May 2022, on Sunday condemned a visit by President Vladimir Putin, whom they described as an “international criminal”.

“International criminal Putin visited the occupied city of Mariupol ‘at night’, probably because in daylight the city should not look for its salvation”, the city council on his Telegram account, referring to the international arrest mandate Written targeting the Russian President.

(with AFP)


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