After the arrest warrant from the Hague Court, Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to Mariupol, Ukraine. For this visit, a video was also published in which Putin appears giving the car himself. Putin also visited Crimea on its ninth anniversary.
The official Kremlin stated that the Russian president's visit to the port city of Mariupol was spontaneous and for business purposes.
"Initially, the plans were only to visit the residential complex in Mariupol. "Neither the communication with the residents nor the visit to the apartment was planned, it was absolutely spontaneous," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Officials in the Ukrainian city said Putin had visited Mariupol at night so he wouldn't see the devastated city during the day.
"The international criminal Putin visited the occupied city of Mariupol at night, probably not to see in the light of day the city that was killed by his "liberation", the City Council wrote on Telegram.
For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that Putin visited the destroyed Mariupol at night as a thief.
"Criminals always return to the scene of their crimes... The killer of thousands of Mariupol families came to see the ruins of the city and its graves. Cynicism and lack of remorse," President Zelensky's adviser Mihailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter.
The visit appeared to be a challenge to the war crimes warrant issued against him by the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Friday.
"By showing up in Crimea and Mariupol, he is trying to send two important messages, both to the West and to the Russian people," said Mark Voyger, former special adviser on Russian and Eurasian affairs.
"For the West, this is a message of challenge. So he is showing that he does not feel guilty and basically wants to show that he is above these developments", says Voyger.
Russia annexed the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia in September, following a so-called referendum that was rejected by Ukraine and the West.