Vladimir Putin visited the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol in Ukraine on Sunday, Tass news agency reported.
Russian forces captured Mariupol in the Donetsk region after a bloody battle in May last year and have been under the control of Moscow fighters ever since.
The Russian president was seen driving around the city while visiting several districts.
The Tass news agency reported that he stopped along the way and spoke to residents.
Today, state media said that Putin met with senior officers leading his military operation in Ukraine.
The leader, who is facing an arrest warrant for war crimes, also met with the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, in charge of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
The Tass news agency reported that the meeting took place at the Rostov-on-Don command center in southern Russia.
This is the first visit of its kind by the Russian president, who launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, to the country after the conflict broke out in Europe and led to the displacement of millions, thousands of civilian deaths and several thousand deaths. injured.
The day before, Putin made a surprise visit to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.
His trip to the war-stricken country came a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for war crimes, alleging he was personally responsible for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
In Sevastopol, Crimea’s largest city, Mr. Putin met Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozayev, and with him visited an art school and children’s center as part of a project to develop a historical park on the site of an ancient Greek colony, the Russian state. News agencies said.
“Our boss knows how to surprise. In a good sense. Today we were supposed to open an art school for children. Everything was ready for a video conference and a report to the chief via a private communication link. In the end the chief himself came. By car. He was driving himself. In such a way The historic day, the president is always with Sevastopol and the people of Sevastopol Governor Razvogayev wrote in a telegram that our country has an incredible leader.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, in a move most of the world condemned as illegal and strained relations between Moscow and the West. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that any peace settlement would include Russia’s withdrawal from the peninsula as well as the regions it occupied since last year.
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