Russian President Vladimir Putin toured the devastated city of Mariupol on his first visit to the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine's Donbass region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an unannounced visit to the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the Kremlin announced on Sunday. It was his first visit to Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine's Donbas region.
After his arrival in a helicopter, he visited several locations in the city that Russian forces leveled to the ground and spoke with local residents, according to state news media.
The visit comes after Putin visited Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula's annexation from Ukraine, a move most of the world has condemned as illegal.
Russian media reported that Putin also met in Rostov with the top commander of his military operation in Ukraine, including Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, at the Rostov-on-Don command post in southern Russia.
Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year. The fighting over Mariupol, in the Donetsk region, began in February and raged until Russia took the city's last defenders captive in May.