Defiant Putin Visits Mariupol, Second Stop in Tour of Occupied Ukraine

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Europe|Defiant Putin Visits Mariupol, Second Stop successful Tour of Occupied Ukraine

The astonishment travel signals the Kremlin is trying to support up concern arsenic usual, 2 days aft an planetary tribunal issued an apprehension warrant for the Russian president.

Vladimir Putin, successful  a classroom, wearing a acheronian  sweater, looks down   astatine  a heap  of clay he's touching. Another antheral   watches him.
President Vladimir V. Putin visiting a children’s creation halfway successful Sevastopol, Crimea, connected Saturday.Credit...Sputnik

Andrés R. MartínezIvan Nechepurenko

March 19, 2023Updated 3:09 a.m. ET

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia traveled to Mariupol, his 2nd astonishment sojourn to Russian-occupied territory successful Ukraine this weekend, and a defiant motion soon aft an planetary tribunal had issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mr. Putin flew to Mariupol, a large Ukrainian concern hub connected the Azov Sea, by helicopter, the Kremlin said successful a statement connected Sunday. In the city, Mr. Putin drove from the airdrome done respective neighborhoods, the Kremlin said, inspecting reconstruction works with a apical Russian authoritative liable for infrastructure. The Kremlin besides said that Mr. Putin spoke with immoderate section residents.

Before the Russian penetration turned Mariupol into 1 of the fiercest municipality battles of caller times, the metropolis was location to much than 400,000 radical and the tract of Europe’s largest alloy plant.

It was Mr. Putin’s 2nd unannounced travel of the play to Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, and the closest the Russian person has been to the beforehand lines since the penetration past February. His travel connected Saturday to Crimea was timed to coincide with the ninth day of Russia’s amerciable annexation of the peninsula.

The 2 high-profile visits were besides defiant gestures from the Kremlin little than 48 hours aft an planetary tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant claims that Mr. Putin bore idiosyncratic transgression work for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children that has taken spot since Russia’s penetration past year.

Apart from Mariupol, Mr. Putin connected Sunday besides visited the Russian metropolis of Rostov-on-Don, wherever helium met with apical subject commanders progressive successful the warfare successful Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

Since the commencement of winter, some sides person been locked successful a grinding conflict for onshore successful the eastbound wherever the beforehand enactment has hardly moved, each service moving abbreviated of ammunition and experiencing mounting casualties. Mr. Putin has shown nary signs of easing up oregon heading to the negotiating table, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has vowed to recapture each the territory that Russia grabbed, including Crimea.

So far, Ukraine has regained astir fractional of that territory. And it has persuaded respective of its allies successful NATO to supply their astir invaluable weapons, including tanks, missiles, antimissile systems and — just past week — combatant jets. As the warfare enters its 2nd year, Mr. Putin has recovered himself further isolated, with a increasing database of sanctions threatening to diminish Russia’s income from the merchantability of its lipid and gas.

On Monday, helium volition big Moscow’s astir important ally, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, giving Mr. Putin an accidental to reiterate a taxable the Kremlin has emphasized since the war’s start: that planetary enactment for Ukraine is constricted to Western countries.

China has said the three-day sojourn by Mr. Xi offers Beijing an accidental to propulsion Mr. Putin into bid talks and has hinted that a telephone with Mr. Zelensky could follow. But the United States has argued that China is not an honorable broker and is providing Russia with much-needed supplies for the war, accusations that China has denied and that person helped thrust relations betwixt the 2 powers to the lowest successful decades.

For months past year, Russia poured thousands of troops into Mariupol, 1 of the astir prosperous Ukrainian cities earlier the war, and indiscriminately bombarded its flat buildings. Outnumbered and outgunned, Ukraine’s subject hung connected for weeks, yet taking structure successful the city’s alloy factory. Finally successful May, Ukrainian forces retreated, leaving the devastated metropolis successful Russian control.

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