Putin makes ‘working visit’ to occupied Mariupol –

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly on a “working visit” to Russian-occupied Mariupol, just days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest.

Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter and toured various districts of the city by car, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

It said the Russian leader had stopped to talk to residents of the city’s Nevsky neighbourhood, and claimed he had been invited to their homes. It did not specify when the visit was made.

News of the visit came after the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on Friday for Putin and Russian official Maria Livova-Belova for allegedly planning to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

The visit could be seen as particularly provocative to Ukrainians, as Mariupol has long been a symbol of resistance and has seen some of the fiercest fighting since Russia launched its invasion last year.

RIA Novosti said Putin also inspected the coastline of Mariupol, visiting the yacht club and theater complex.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Kusnulin detailed Putin’s “undergoing construction and restoration work” in the city.

Mariupol is a port city on the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, which has been under direct Russian control since May 2022.

It was in Mariupol that Russian forces carried out some of their most notorious attacks, including a raid on a maternity ward last March and a bombing of a theater that forced hundreds of civilians to seek refuge.

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