Russia’s Indicted Putin Visits Destroyed Mariupol Under Cover Of Darkness

Sunday, March 19, 2023 | Tag Cloud

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

MARIUPOL/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the occupied port city of Mariupol in his first trip to territory that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in September.

Little is left of the city named after the Virgin Mary, which was pounded mainly into ruins by Russian forces, but it wasn’t clear from the official video issued by Moscow.

Under cover of darkness, Putin was seen driving a car while chatting to a companion as they headed towards the city’s concert hall.

Putin arrived in Mariupol by helicopter late Saturday after visiting Crimea, southwest of Mariupol, to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed.

The surprise visit came ahead of a visit to Moscow by China’s President Xi Jinping this week, which Moscow hopes will provide a diplomatic boost to Putin in his standoff with the West.

Putin went to Mariupol’s Philharmonic Hall, where the United Nations said show trials are underway for Ukrainian soldiers who fought against Russian troops for months in the city’s Azovstal iron and steel plant.

Moscow said Putin decided “spontaneously” to tour Mariupol late Saturday, just days after the International Criminal Court issued warrants for his arrest on war crimes charges.


He arrived at the Philharmonic Concert Hall after appearing to be driving down several streets and memorial sites.

Putin was sitting next to a man in a black cap, who Russian media identify as Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin. On his left, as they drove down Myru Avenue, were sculptures of birds in Mariupol’s Freedom Square.

Further on, on the right and not shown in the footage, was Mariupol’s Maternity Hospital Number Three, bombed in a notorious incident last March.

Pictures of heavily-pregnant Marianna Vyshemirskaya, her face bloodied, descending rubble-strewn steps, were shown worldwide amid outrage at the attack. She reportedly survived and gave birth the following day. However, another pregnant woman was among the victims, said reporters visiting the region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it a war crime. Still, Russia said the hospital had no longer been in use and was instead used by members of the Azov regiment.

Azov was set up as a volunteer militia with links to the far right in 2014 but has since been incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard.

In the footage seen by Worthy News, Putin turned off Myru Avenue just before the road arrived at Theatre Square – the scene of a deadly bombing that is thought to have killed at least 300 and possibly 600 civilians.


Civilians had been using the building as a refuge from the siege, and a significant sign spelling “children” had been daubed in Russian in front of the theatre.

The building collapsed when it was hit. Russia denied bombing it and blamed the Azov battalion. In December, the Ukrainian city authorities in exile said Russia was demolishing the ruins of the theatre.

Mariupol’s Ukrainian mayor in exile, Vadym Boychenko, condemned Putin’s trip to a city that investigators said came to symbolize several of the worst atrocities in the war.

He also played down Putin’s brief visit to an apparently newly built apartment block with ‘thankful’ residents on the outskirts of
Mariupol, which was part of the brief program.

President Putin was also seen visiting a World War Two memorial built to commemorate Soviet troops who recaptured the city from Nazi Germany.

“We have to understand that Mariupol is a symbolic place for Putin because of the fury he inflicted on the city of Mariupol,” Boychenko noted. “No other city was destroyed like that. No other city was under siege for so long. No other city was subjected to carpet bombing,” he recalled.

The U.N. estimates that 90 percent of residential buildings were damaged or destroyed in the Russian attacks.

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