The Russian president made an unscheduled stop in Mariupol where he met locals and checked on the city’s restoration
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise visit to the Donbass region was largely “spontaneous” and actually turned into a real “work trip,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed on Sunday. It was Putin’s first visit to Donbass since it split from Ukraine in 2014 and eventually became part of Russia following referendums last year.
Putin made the unexpected visit to the city of Mariupol at night, meeting locals and visiting their apartments in a newly constructed residential building. The city was the scene of intense fighting at the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and ended up being heavily damaged in the process.
“Initially, the plan was only to visit this residential complex, and, of course, neither to meet the citizens nor to visit them. [in their homes] was planned. It was completely spontaneous. Peskov told reporters.
The visit turned into “Full-fledged work trip” for the president, Peskov continued, while Putin was briefed by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who accompanied him on the visit, about the ongoing restoration process in the city. In particular, the Russian leader was informed of “the development of the urban economy, the roads, the restoration of destroyed buildings, how many people work, how working conditions are provided, how building materials are delivered”, explained the spokesperson.
After his visit to Mariupol, Putin traveled to the city of Rostov-on-Don, where he met with senior Russian military officials at a command and control center responsible for the military operation in Ukraine.
The visit to the command post was also not planned in advance, Peskov said, adding that the president’s arrival was not a problem given that the facility operates around the clock.
“Neither the presidential administration nor the Ministry of Defense planned it in advance”, said the spokesperson. During the trip, Putin “heard reports” of a number of senior military commanders, including Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and also gave his “situational assessments” Peskov added.
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