Russia-Ukraine war: Putin discusses Mariupol reconstruction plans during surprise visit
President Vladimir Putin discussed Mariupol’s reconstruction plans and spoke to the residents as he made a surprise visit to the Russian-occupied city in Ukraine. His visit came a day after being accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was Putin’s first trip to the city since the conflict began last year.
After the surprise visit to the embattled port city over the weekend, the Kremlin said Sunday that President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Mariupol in Ukraine was “spontaneous”.
Footage of his critical visit was released by the Russian authorities. As reported by news agencies, the video showed Putin landing at Mariupol airport in a helicopter.
He was also seen driving a car around the city and speaking to residents who looked absolutely stunned by his visit.
Putin was also seen sitting in the driver’s seat along with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin and was reportedly talking about reconstruction plans for Mariupol, which has been ravaged by the ongoing war.
As quoted by news agencies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “It was all very spontaneous.” Peskov noted that Putin’s movements around the city or his meeting with local residents were not planned.
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Ukraine slams the visit
Ukraine reacted sharply to Putin’s surprise trip and the defence ministry said Sunday that the visit to the port city took place during the night “as befits a thief”. Mariupol fell under Russian control last year after battle for months.
The ministry said on Twitter: “As befits a thief, Putin visited Ukrainian Mariupol, under the cover of night. First, it is safer. Also, darkness allows him to highlight what he wants to show, and keeps the city his army completely destroyed and its few surviving inhabitants away from prying eyes.”
As befits a thief, putin visited Ukrainian Mariupol, under the cover of night.
First, it is safer.
Also, darkness allows him to highlight what he wants to show, and keeps the city his army completely destroyed and its few surviving inhabitants away from prying eyes.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) March 19, 2023
Disclaimer: A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While WION takes utmost care to accurately report this developing news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.
(With inputs from agencies)
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