President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia traveled to Mariupol, his 2nd shock pay a visit to to Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine this weekend, and a defiant gesture before long following an global courtroom experienced issued a warrant for his arrest.
Mr. Putin flew to Mariupol, a key Ukrainian industrial hub on the Azov Sea, by helicopter, the Kremlin reported in a statement on Sunday. In the town, Mr. Putin drove from the airport as a result of a number of neighborhoods, the Kremlin stated, inspecting reconstruction operates with a top Russian formal liable for infrastructure. The Kremlin also claimed that Mr. Putin spoke with some area residents.
Ahead of the Russian invasion turned Mariupol into a person of the fiercest city battles of latest instances, the city was household to extra than 400,000 folks and the internet site of Europe’s biggest metal plant.
It was Mr. Putin’s second unannounced vacation of the weekend to Russian-occupied locations of Ukraine, and the closest the Russian chief has been to the front traces given that the invasion last February. His journey on Saturday to Crimea was timed to coincide with the ninth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula.
The two substantial-profile visits were also defiant gestures from the Kremlin significantly less than 48 hours immediately after an worldwide court docket issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant claims that Mr. Putin bore individual prison responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children that has taken spot due to the fact Russia’s invasion previous year.
Apart from Mariupol, Mr. Putin on Sunday also visited the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, where by he met with leading navy commanders concerned in the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin stated.
Considering that the commence of wintertime, both of those sides have been locked in a grinding battle for land in the east wherever the front line has barely moved, just about every military jogging limited of ammunition and dealing with mounting casualties. Mr. Putin has revealed no signs of easing up or heading to the negotiating table, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has vowed to recapture all the territory that Russia grabbed, such as Crimea.
So far, Ukraine has regained about 50 percent of that territory. And it has persuaded a number of of its allies in NATO to supply their most important weapons, such as tanks, missiles, antimissile devices and — just last week — fighter jets. As the war enters its second yr, Mr. Putin has discovered himself further isolated, with a developing checklist of sanctions threatening to diminish Russia’s cash flow from the sale of its oil and fuel.
On Monday, he will host Moscow’s most significant ally, China’s chief, Xi Jinping, providing Mr. Putin an chance to reiterate a concept the Kremlin has emphasized given that the war’s start off: that international assist for Ukraine is constrained to Western international locations.
China has mentioned the three-working day visit by Mr. Xi provides Beijing an possibility to force Mr. Putin into peace talks and has hinted that a phone with Mr. Zelensky could abide by. But the United States has argued that China is not an straightforward broker and is offering Russia with significantly-required provides for the war, accusations that China has denied and that have assisted push relations involving the two powers to the least expensive in decades.
For months past calendar year, Russia poured 1000’s of troops into Mariupol, a single of the most prosperous Ukrainian metropolitan areas prior to the war, and indiscriminately bombarded its apartment properties. Outnumbered and outgunned, Ukraine’s navy hung on for months, at some point taking shelter in the city’s metal manufacturing facility. Ultimately in May, Ukrainian forces retreated, leaving the devastated town in Russian control.
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