Putin visits Russian-occupied Mariupol in Ukraine


Vladimir Putin, who flew to Mariupol by helicopter, drove through the city by car and stopped to talk to residents, the TASS agency says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a working trip to Mariupol, a Ukrainian city in the Donetsk region occupied by Moscow since May last year.

Putin was flown by helicopter to Mariupol, the TASS agency reported on Sunday, citing the Kremlin.

Putin drove a car and traveled through several neighborhoods of the city, stopping and talking to residents, the agency said.

Reports of the visit to Mariupol came a day after the Russian leader traveled to Crimea to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Ukraine’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. Russian state television showed him visiting the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol on Saturday, accompanied by the local Moscow-appointed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after a referendum that was not recognized by Kiev and the international community.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Russia withdraw from the peninsula and areas it has occupied since last year.