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Putin on a surprise visit to the Donbass – media – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

The Russian leader reportedly visited the second largest city in the Donetsk People’s Republic

Hot on the heels of his surprise visit to Crimea on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin is reported to have made an unannounced working trip to Mariupol, the port city on the Sea of ​​Azov that was liberated by Russian forces last spring as part of the military operation in Ukraine, and joined Russia as part of the Donetsk People’s Republic following a referendum in September.

Putin is believed to have arrived in Mariupol by helicopter, accompanied by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, several Russian news agencies, including TASS and RIA Novosti, reported Sunday morning, citing the president’s press service.

The President visited several areas of the city to inspect the progress of restoration efforts, including the construction of “new residential neighborhoods, social and educational facilities, housing and communal service infrastructure, medical institutions.” He would also have visited the “coastline in the yacht club area, the theater building,” as well as others “memorable places” from the city.

The date of the trip was unclear and the Kremlin has yet to share photos and videos of what would be the head of state’s first trip to the new region of Russia. On Saturday, Putin was in Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia.

The city of Mariupol was liberated by Russian forces last spring as part of the military operation in Ukraine. It has become one of the symbols of Russia’s military campaign, and victory there has undoubtedly been the main triumph so far.

MARIUPOL IN PHOTOS: How the battle-scarred city has changed after eight months under Russian control

In September, the Donetsk People’s Republics, which include Mariupol, as well as the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, officially became part of the Russian Federation after holding public referendums. The Crimean peninsula voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in a public referendum after a Western-backed coup in kyiv in 2014.

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