March 28, 2023

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Defiant Putin visits occupied Mariupol, symbol of Ukrainian resistance

(CNN) Vladimir put it in He visited Russian-occupied Mariupol, in an apparent defiant move announced by the Kremlin just days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him.

Putin was taken there Mariupol It showed footage released by the Russian authorities by helicopter and toured the city’s surroundings in a car.

The Russian president is shown meeting the residents, who look astonished. “We need to start getting to know each other better,” Putin tells one man.

But the Kremlin statement did not do that Say when the visit took place.

News of the visit comes after the International Criminal Court on Friday issued arrest warrants for Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova Belova over an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia.

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

The Kremlin said that during the trip, Putin examined the coast of Mariupol and visited a yacht club and a theater building.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khosnullin, who accompanied him, spoke in detail with Putin about the “ongoing construction and restoration work” in the city.

The Kremlin added that Putin held a meeting at the command center of the special military operation in Rostov-on-Don.

The statement added that Putin listened to news from the Chief of the General Staff, First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov and a number of military leaders.

MariupolIt is a port city on the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčAzov, located in the Ukrainian Donetsk Oblast and has been under direct Russian control since May 2022.

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there was Mariupol That the Russian forces carried out some of the worst blows, including an attack Attack on the maternity ward last March and Theater bombing Forcing hundreds of civilians to seek refuge.

Mariupol has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance during weeks of relentless Russian attacks last year. Famously, even when most of the city fell, its defenders at the Azovstal steelworks held out for weeks before the stronghold finally fell.

Defense analysts told CNN earlier that Russian forces had tried to flatten Mariupol to make the city “easier to hold”.

Of the 450,000 people who lived in the city before the war, more than a third actually did Leave.