Vladimir Putin makes trip to Russian-occupied Mariupol in wake of ICC warrant
A day after being accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, President Vladimir...
A day after being accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, scene of some of the worst devastation of his year-old invasion.
State television showed extended footage of Putin being shown around the city on Saturday (Mar 18) night, meeting rehoused residents and being briefed on reconstruction efforts by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin.
The port city of Mariupol became known around the world as a byword for death and destruction as much of it was reduced to ruins in the first months of the war, eventually falling to Russian forces in May.
Hundreds were killed in the bombing of a theatre where families with children were sheltering. The Organization for Security and Cooperation and Europe (OSCE) said Russia's early bombing of a maternity hospital there was a war crime. Moscow denied that and has said since it invaded on Feb 24 last year that it does not target civilians.
Putin's visit had the air of a gesture of defiance after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday, accusing him of the war crime of deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.