Putin Makes Surprise Visit to Occupied Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Mariupol, where there has been bloody fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin Makes Surprise Visit to Occupied Ukraine

Russia's President Vladimir V. Putin visited Mariupol. This surprise visit was made to the Ukrainian city, which was the scene of one of Russia's bloodiest invasions last year and where the Russian leader is the closest to the eastern frontlines.

According to state media outlet Tass, Putin flew from Crimea by helicopter and then visited Mariupol, Donetsk Province in east.

This was Putin's second trip unannounced to Russian-occupied Ukraine this weekend. It was also the closest Russian leader to the frontlines in the past year. His Saturday trip to Crimea coincided with the ninth anniversary Russia's illegal annexe of the peninsula. These two high-profile visits came less than 48 hours after a warrant was issued by an international court for his arrest.


Russia sent thousands of troops to Mariupol last year. This is Europe's largest steel producer. They bombarded the city with indiscriminate fire for months. The city once had nearly half a million inhabitants. With fewer weapons and outnumbered, the Ukrainian military held on to their position and eventually took refuge in the steel factory. Finally, the Ukrainian forces pulled back and left the city under Russian control.