Putin came to Donbass for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine He visited Mariupol, which Russia first destroyed and later annexed

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin.  Screengrab from Russian media video reporting Putin's visit to Mariupol on March 19

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Donbass. CASS Remarksthat this is his first trip to the region. It is also the first visit of the president to the cities that Russia annexed in the fall of 2022. Previously in the Kremlin spokethat Putin will visit the Donbass “when the time comes”.

How informed Kremlin Press Service, Putin paid a working visit to the city of Mariupol. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov declaredthat Putin visited the city on the evening of March 18 and the night of March 19. “Layout” journalists confirmedthat Putin really visited Mariupol.

The president arrived in Mariupol by helicopter and then toured several parts of the city, the Kremlin said. So, he traveled along the coastline in the area of ​​​​the yacht club, the square and other “memorable places”, as well as the “restored philharmonic” and the university.

After a visit to Mariupol, Putin held a meeting at a command post in Rostov-on-Don, where he met with Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.

Putin was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who reported on the progress of construction and restoration work in the city. Video of the trip was released by Russian state media.

Among other things, Khusnullin said Putin that Ukrainian troops allegedly fired at the house vein during the retreat. “It is very clear what they have done. Where we were advancing there were no shells at all. From their side, they hit us with direct fire from tanks, you can clearly see how they were retreating – they hit them at home. They beat them, they just destroyed them,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. According to him, the Ukrainian Armed Forces also mined the bodies of the dead and equipment in the hospitals of the city. “The so-called Nazis. Normal people wouldn’t do that,” Putin said.

During the visit, Putin spoke with local residents who received new housing to replace those that were destroyed, says the Kremlin press service. RIA News published video of the meeting of the Russian president with the inhabitants of the Nevsky microdistrict. One of the women who attended the meeting said locals had been “waiting” and “praying” for Putin. Responding to the president’s question whether they like it in Nevsky, she said: “A lot. It’s a little piece of paradise we have here.”

“Layout” find one of the participants of the meeting on social networks, confirming that he really lives in Mariupol.

Telegram channel “We can explain” REMARK on the reaction of Mariupol residents on social networks to Putin’s visit. Journalists noted that Nevsky, where Putin was brought, is “in fact the only rebuilt microdistrict in the completely destroyed city.” The Telegram channel quoted several cat quotes from residents of other Mariupol neighborhoods:

“Too bad he didn’t come up to us, the left bank, the square! No windows, no doors, no hot water and heating. I would talk to the locals. »

“Why take him there, he was taken to these places that have been preserved and to new buildings. No one will show him empty pits under the foundations of destroyed houses..

“We ***** are not needed here. Everything is done for the image on television, so that people in Russia can watch it.

Putin’s visit to Mariupol surprised journalists and Kremlin pool officials, writing “Layout”. The same surprise for them became Putin’s trip to annexed Crimea on March 18. The publication notes that in the photographs and video of the visit there is no head of the Russian Defense Ministry, Sergei Shoigu, as well as the head of the self-proclaimed DPR Denis Pushilin. Nestka considers this proof that Putin’s trip to the Donbass was not planned.

Later, the Kremlin spokesman declaredthat trips to Mariupol and to the Rostov-on-Don command post were not planned. By words Press secretary to the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov, Putin traveled around Mariupol practically without a motorcade.

Russia captured Mariupol in the spring of 2022 after a two and a half month siege. City finally moved under the control of Russian troops, after the last group of Ukrainian soldiers defending the Azovstal plant surrendered in May. By data legitimate authorities of Mariupol, during the Russian occupation of the city, half of the houses and 90% of the infrastructures were destroyed.

FEBRUARY Ukrainian sources report periodic explosions in Mariupol, which is located 80 kilometers from the front line. The Ukrainian side too declared about APU missile hits in the city. Mariupol authorities appointed by Russia reported on air defense work, but the destruction was denied. in the armed forces spokethat the leadership of Mariupol is no longer “absolutely out of reach” for the Ukrainian army.

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