The Washington Post reports:
The visit was a symbolic display of bravado by Putin, just a day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest over alleged war crimes and right before a state visit to Russia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which begins Monday.
But even as Putin personally staked his claim to occupied Ukrainian territory, international condemnation of him grew louder.
Germany’s justice minister, Marco Buschmann, told the Bild newspaper that German authorities would arrest Putin, in accordance with the warrant, if he set foot in their country. President Biden on Saturday also backed the court’s decision, saying, “it’s justified.”
The Guardian reports:
Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol in a show of defiance after the international criminal court issued an arrest warrant for him on war crimes charges.
Russian state media released footage on Sunday showing the president on what is believed to have been his first trip to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine’s Donbas region since he launched a full-scale invasion last year.
The Tass news agency reported that Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol on Saturday and took a tour of the city, at times driving his own car. He visited several sites and spoke with residents, and was presented with a report on reconstruction work in the city.
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a surprise visit on Saturday evening to occupied Mariupol, the eastern Ukrainian city that Russia seized in May after mostly destroying it during a brutal months-long siege.https://t.co/48ROfRJvZ2
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 19, 2023
Vladimir Putin pays surprise visit to occupied Mariupol in Ukraine https://t.co/wgiufKj1l6
— Guardian World (@guardianworld) March 19, 2023