Putin Visits Mariupol During First Trip to Occupied Eastern Ukraine Since Invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Mariupol on Sunday, March 19, as part of his first visit to occupied eastern Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion.

Footage released by Zvezda shows Putin arriving in Mariupol and visiting residents living in the Nevsky district, according to state-owned TASS news agency, which cited the Kremlin.

The UN has estimated that 90 percent of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed in Mariupol, and that around 350,000 people have abandoned the city.

The Ukrainian government said that some 300 people were killed when a Mariupol theater was bombed earlier last year, but an investigation by the Associated Press supported a death toll closer to 600. Storyful has not confirmed either of these figures.

Putin’s visit comes a day after he travelled to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine.

On Friday, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of war crimes, including the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. The alleged crimes were committed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the ICC said.

Russia has denied allegations of war crimes. Speaking on March 14, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Credit: Zvezda via Storyful