Putin visits occupied Mariupol days after warrant issued for his arrest
Putin's visit to Mariupol, which Russia conquered in May 2022, was his first trip to Russian-occupied Ukraine since the start of the war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit Sunday to Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city his troops captured in a long, devastating siege, in a defiant move two days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Putin arrived in Mariupol by helicopter and toured several districts of the city by car, including "the coastline in the area of the yacht club, the theater building, memorable places," the Kremlin said in a translated statement.
It is unclear whether Putin visited the same theater where an estimated 600 Ukrainians were killed in a Russian bombing.
Putin's visit to Mariupol, which Russia conquered in May 2022, was his first trip to Russian-occupied Ukraine since the start of the war in February of last year.
He also met with military leaders in Rostov-on-Don during his trip, the Kremlin said.
State media outlet Tass stated that "large-scale work is underway to restore the city" after the Russian invasion left much of Mariupol in ruins.
The warrant for Putin's arrest came in response to the alleged war crime of forcibly deporting thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.