Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, state media reported on Sunday, his first to the city since it was captured after a lengthy siege at the start of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine. The trip comes after an arrest warrant was issued for Putin by the International Criminal Court (ICC), over Russia’s alleged deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children during the conflict.
Russia besieged Mariupol at the start of its offensive last year, destroying the Azovstal steel works, the last holdout of Ukrainian forces in the city.
According to the state news agency TASS on Sunday, Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter on Saturday and took a tour of the city, at times driving a car.
He visited several sites and spoke with residents, and was presented with a report on the reconstruction work of the city.
Putin’s stop in Mariupol comes after his surprise visit to Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation.—AFP