Vladimir Putin makes first trip to illegally-annexed Mariupol

The surprise trip also comes one day before Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Moscow.
Posted at 3:26 PM, Mar 19, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol in Ukraine on Sunday.

The Russian leader arrived in Mariupol via helicopter and then drove himself around the city's memorial sites, concert hall and coastline. This marks his first trip to the illegally annexed territory in Ukraine.

The surprise trip also comes one day before Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Moscow. The visit is seen as a major diplomatic boost for Putin. Xi's visit would mark his first meeting with Putin in Russia since the start of the invasion. China has tried to present itself as a neutral peace broker between Russia and its neighbor. However, Beijing has yet to condemn Russia's invasion.

A day before Putin touched down in Mariupol, the Russian leader visited Crimea on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation of Ukraine. Much like Mariupol, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was considered illegal by most of the world.

Vladimir Putin

Russian President Putin faces war crimes arrest warrant by ICC

The International Criminal Court charged Putin with unlawful deportation and transfer of children.


Though on the move, Putin has been up against claims by the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for the Russian president on Friday, accusing him of war crimes. The war crimes in question relate to the abduction of Ukrainian children during Russia’s invasion.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan discussed the significance of the arrest warrant in an interview with CNN.

"It shows that individuals — whatever their position, however high — don’t have a free pass, and that the law binds us to some basic principals," Khan said.

The probability of Putin facing trial is slim, however, given that Moscow does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction or extradite nationals.