Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol during a Saturday trip to the Donbass, where he visited with residents and surveyed Russian efforts to rebuild the city after intense fighting with Ukrainian forces saw much of it destroyed. The trip marks the first time that Putin has surveyed the new territories won by Russian forces since the beginning of their special military operation in 2022.
As part of his trip to the separatist Donabass region on Saturday, Putin visited the city of Mariupol, which was touted by corporate media and government officials in NATO nations as a symbol of “Ukrainian resistance” before it fell to Russian forces. Reportedly, the Russian President took a helicopter flight to the city and toured it in a car and on foot, after a Russian ceremony was held in Crimea to commemorate that separatist region’s 2014 annexation.
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While in the city, Putin visited housing complexes that the Russians are building to replace those destroyed by the war and visited with residents who were apparently pleasantly surprised to see the Russian President.
“Please excuse me for coming in so unexpectedly” – Putin visited a family living in new buildings in Mariupol
During his visit to the liberated Mariupol, Vladimir Putin visited the local residents and saw their way of life in new houses built to replace the destroyed ones.
— 🇷🇺Jacob🇷🇺Charite🇷🇺 (@jaccocharite) March 19, 2023
Despite Western media depictions, residents of Mariupol are largely supportive of the Putin government and, like the rest of the Donbass region, voted to secede from Ukraine in 2014, after a Soros-backed revolution overthrew that nation’s pro-Russia, elected government. Mariupol though fell under Ukrainian military and government control shortly after the 2014 secession of the Donbass and remained that way until Russia’s military operation saw it change hands.
According to a Kremlin spokesman, Vladimir Putin’s trip to Mariupol and military sites in the wider Donbass region was “spontaneous,” and “neither the presidential administration nor the Ministry of Defense planned it in advance.”
The same spokesman says that the trip to the Donbass was a work outing for the Russian President and beneficial to both Russian military strategy and morale. In addition to his visiting Mariupol, Putin took a trip to Russian military installations to meet with his officers and discuss the current situation on the battlefield.
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