Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast, Russian state-controlled media claimed, citing the Kremlin’s press service.
This is Putin’s first visit to the Donbas.
According to Russian media, Putin traveled to occupied Mariupol via helicopter. He reportedly visited several of the occupied city’s districts by car and spoke with residents.
Russian state-controlled media claimed that Putin discussed infrastructural additions to the city.
Russian forces have heavily bombed Mariupol since the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. The city has been occupied since May 2022.
March 16 marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s strike on the Mariupol Drama Theater, which killed hundreds of civilians sheltering inside. It was labeled a “clear war crime” by Amnesty International.
Putin’s visit to Mariupol comes less than two days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.
This decision means that Putin and Lvova-Belova can now be arrested in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute.
On March 18, Putin visited Russian-occupied Crimea – nine years after proclaiming its illegal occupation “official.”