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Ukraine updates: Putin visits occupied city of Mariupol

  • March 19, 2023

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.

Mariupol – A story of resilience

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Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war on Saturday, March 18:

Russia is unable to achieve previously planned goals — UK

In the beginning of March, authorities in the Russian-controlled part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast published a decree that declared occupied Melitopol as the oblast capital, the British Ministry of Defence said in its daily update.

The Russian-installed head of the oblast, Evgeniy Balitskiy, said that this was a temporary measure until the city of Zaporizhzhia was controlled by Russia, according to an update.

Zaporizhzhia is one of the four oblasts President Putin claimed to have annexed as part of the Russian Federation on 30 September 2022.

However, Russia has never occupied Zaporizhzhia city, a major industrial centre of 700,000 people, which is approximately 35 kilometers from the current front line.

The quiet declaration of an alternative capital is likely tacit acknowledgement within the Russian system that its forces are highly unlikely to seize previously planned major objectives in the near future, the British ministry concluded.

More DW coverage on the war in Ukraine

The Czech Republic has mastered the largest immigration influx in its history — of Ukrainian refugees — to the advantage of the business sector. Many Ukrainians have legal jobs, despite nationalist narratives.

dh,ar/jcg (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)

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