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يلا أعرف|| Russia-Ukraine war live: Putin visits Mariupol in first trip to occupied eastern Ukraine, says Russian state media | Ukraine

Putin visits occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to Russian state media

Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, Russian state media reported on Sunday, in the Kremlin leader’s first trip to the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region since the start of the war.

Reuters reported that the visit came after Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and just two days after the international criminal court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mariupol, which fell to Russia in May after one of the war’s longest and bloodiest battles, was Russia’s first major victory after it failed to seize Kyiv and focused instead on south-eastern Ukraine.

Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin. It is the closest to the frontlines Putin has been in the year-long war. Driving a car, Putin travelled around several districts of the city in the Donetsk region, making stops and talking to residents.

Vladimir Putin, centre, during his visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday
Vladimir Putin, centre, during his visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday. Photograph: EyePress News/Rex/Shutterstock

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation and Europe said Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was a war crime.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has made a number of trips to the battlefield to boost troop morale and discuss strategy, but Putin has largely remained inside Russia during the war.

Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with the top command of his military operation in Ukraine, including Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff.

Updated at 11.41 GMT

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Russian state media is reporting that Vladimir Putin has today visited a command post in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Russian state-owned news agency TASS said Putin held a meeting at a military command and control post in the Russian city.

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It comes after Putin traveled to Russian-occupied Mariupol by helicopter on March 18, and visited Russian-occupied Crimea.

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Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, Russian state media reported on Sunday, in the Kremlin leader’s first trip to the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region since the start of the war.

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Reuters reported that the visit came after Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and just two days after the international criminal court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest.

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Mariupol, which fell to Russia in May after one of the war’s longest and bloodiest battles, was Russia’s first major victory after it failed to seize Kyiv and focused instead on south-eastern Ukraine.

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Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin. It is the closest to the frontlines Putin has been in the year-long war. Driving a car, Putin travelled around several districts of the city in the Donetsk region, making stops and talking to residents.

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The Organisation for Security and Cooperation and Europe said Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was a war crime.

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The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has made a number of trips to the battlefield to boost troop morale and discuss strategy, but Putin has largely remained inside Russia during the war.

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Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with the top command of his military operation in Ukraine, including Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff.

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Hello and welcome back to our continuing live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine. This is Adam Fulton with the latest developments.

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Vladimir Putin has visited Mariupol, Russian media reported on Sunday, in the Russian president’s first trip to the Russian-occupied east of Ukraine since the war began.

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Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter, the Tass news agency reported, and then toured the city, at times driving a car, as well as speaking with residents.

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Moscow’s forces captured the city last May after bombarding it for more than 80 days in one of the war’s bloodiest battles.

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More on that story soon.

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In other developments as the war reaches day 389:

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  • Russian strikes killed two people and wounded 10 in Kramatorsk on Saturday, the regional governor said, accusing Moscow of having used cluster bombs in the attack on the eastern Ukrainian city. Pavlo Kyrylenko said a park had been targeted and “a dozen residential buildings” damaged. Agence France-Presse reporters heard about 10 explosions go off nearly simultaneously and said they saw a woman die at the scene from her wounds. Soon after, another round of explosions was heard in a neighbourhood 2km away.

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  • Russia launched a series of attacks on Friday, according to the Ukrainian armed forces. Seven homes in the village of Veletenske in the Kherson region were destroyed and a nursery was damaged on Friday, but no one was injured, it said. The update, which the Guardian has not verified, also said 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones had been shot down, and that Ukrainian forces had “repelled more than 100 enemy attacks”.

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  • Ukraine said some of the overnight drone attacks hit the relatively peaceful western region of Lviv. Dnipro was also targeted, as was Kyiv, where air defences shot down all attacking drones. Ukraine’s air force said 11 out of 16 drones were destroyed.

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  • The Black Sea grain deal was renewed, according to parties to the agreement. Turkey and the UN announced the initiative was extended, but did not say for how long. A spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry said it had notified other parties that the deal was extended for 60 days, while a Ukrainian minister said the deal was extended for 120 days.

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  • Another 880 Russian soldiers were reportedly killed on Friday, according to unverified totals published by the Ukrainian army. Its general staff said that it meant more than 164,000 Russian service personnel had been killed since the outbreak of war in February last year. Another five tanks, seven armoured combat vehicles and eight artillery systems were disabled by Ukrainian forces, it said in an update posted on Facebook.

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  • Russia’s Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit about 30,000 new fighters by the middle of May, its founder has said. In an audio message on Telegram on Saturday, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that Wagner recruitment centres, which he said last week had opened in 42 Russian cities, were hiring an average of 500-800 people a day.

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  • Russia would probably introduce wider conscription to boost its military requirements, the UK Ministry of Defence said. In its latest intelligence update, it said Russian Duma deputies introduced a bill to change the conscription age for men from the current 18-27 to 21-30. The law would probably be passed, it said, and come into force in January 2024.

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    \n

  • Senior Ukrainian and US security officials met via video link on Saturday, with representatives of Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government asking for further assistance, including more equipment, weapons and ammunition. Zelenskiy joined the call at the end of the meeting and discussed his forces’ hopes to retake areas Russia has captured.

  • \n

  • The US president, Joe Biden, said the international criminal court’s (ICC’s) arrest warrant for Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “justified”. “But the question is – it’s not recognised internationally by us either,” Biden said, referring to the US not being a member of the ICC. “But I think it makes a very strong point.”

  • \n

  • The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, also welcomed the ICC’s decision, saying: “The international criminal court is the right institution to investigate war crimes … The fact is nobody is above the law and that’s what’s becoming clear right now.”

  • \n

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, visited the annexed peninsula of Crimea to mark nine years since Russia seized it. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Putin visited an art school and a children’s centre. These locations appear to have been chosen in response to the ICC’s arrest warrant, which accuses Putin of being responsible for the abduction of children.

  • \n

  • The Biden administration has quietly resumed deportations to Russia, an apparent reversal of the position adopted after Russia invaded Ukraine just over a year ago, when such removals were suspended, the Guardian has learned

  • \n

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Key events

Ukraine’s armed forces have released their latest estimate for war casualties, though we cannot verify them.

Ukraine’s army now claims to have killed 164,910 Russian troops since the start of the war. Of these, they say 710 were killed in the 24 hours to Sunday morning.

They also report destroying eight Russian artillery systems since Saturday.

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Загальні бойові втрати противника з 24.02.22 по 19.03.23 орієнтовно склали / The total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02.22 to 19.03.23 were approximately: pic.twitter.com/rrfM8y8Ucq

— Генеральний штаб ЗСУ (@GeneralStaffUA) March 19, 2023

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Загальні бойові втрати противника з 24.02.22 по 19.03.23 орієнтовно склали / The total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02.22 to 19.03.23 were approximately: pic.twitter.com/rrfM8y8Ucq

— Генеральний штаб ЗСУ (@GeneralStaffUA) March 19, 2023

Vincent Magwenya, South African presidential spokesman, at the South African parliament in Cape Town in December 2022.
Vincent Magwenya, South African presidential spokesman, at the South African parliament in Cape Town in December 2022. Photograph: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

South Africa has said it is aware of its legal obligations relating to Vladimir Putin’s international arrest warrant ahead of his planned visit to the country in August, Reuters reports.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said on Sunday: “We are, as the government, cognisant of our legal obligation. However, between now and the summit we will remain engaged with various relevant stakeholders.”

Putin is expected to visit South Africa in August for a Brics summit, when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa hold talks.

South Africa has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but the ruling by the international court puts them in a tricky spot after the arrest warrant issued by the international criminal court (ICC) on Friday.

“We note the report on the warrant of arrest that the ICC has issued,” Magwenya said. “It remains South Africa’s commitment and very strong desire that the conflict in Ukraine is resolved peacefully through negotiations.”

Updated at 12.57 GMT

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at the Russia-Asean summit in Sochi Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that last week’s US drone strikes over the Black Sea are a sign of direct American involvement in the conflict with Russia.

The taking down of a US drone by Russian fighter planes on Tuesday was the first known direct military encounter between the two sides since the war began.

According to Reuters, Interfax quotes Peskov saying in a television interview on Sunday:

It is quite obvious what these drones are doing, and their mission is not at all a peaceful mission to ensure the safety of shipping in international waters.

And in fact, we are talking about the direct involvement of the operators of these drones in the conflict, and against us.

An earlier version of this post wrongly stated the location of the drone strike due to an agency error. It was over the Black Sea.

Updated at 13.18 GMT

Some more details on the footage of Putin in Mariupol.

Among the social media videos posted he is is seen in a black jeep driving through the streets of Mariupol accompanied by Marat Khusnullin, a top Russian official.

Khusnullin is talking about “rebuilding” of the city by the Russian state.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister made the claim residents had been coming back to Mariupol due to to Russia’s efforts to rebuild the city. This has not been verified.

He said:

People have started to come back. When they saw that reconstruction is under way, people started actively returning.

Khusnullin claimed that rebuilding the heavily damaged city centre – which was decimated by Russian shelling – would be finished by the end of the year, without providing evidence.

He claimed that the destruction in Mariupol, which was heavily shelled by Russia, had been caused by retreating Ukrainian forces. This has also not been verified.

In the video where Putin is shown speaking to people – who Russian state TV claimed were local residents – they can be heard saying that they are “praying for him” and thanking Russia for rebuilding their apartments after their homes were destroyed. There has been no confirmation that the residents were indeed Mariupol citizens.

Ukrainian officials have said at least 22,000 of Mariupol’s civilian population of half a million died in the siege by Russian forces.

Updated at 12.32 GMT

Angelique Chrisafis

Angelique Chrisafis

My colleague Angelique Chrisafis reports on Putin’s visit to Mariupol:

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.

The Financial Times’ Moscow bureau chief Max Seddon has tweeted that, according to the Kremlin, Putin visited the restored Mariupol philharmonic

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The Kremlin also says Putin visited the restored Mariupol philharmonic, where Russia planned to hold show trials of Ukrainian POWs last year before exchanging them instead. pic.twitter.com/V4ULBJPE37

— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 19, 2023

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The Kremlin also says Putin visited the restored Mariupol philharmonic, where Russia planned to hold show trials of Ukrainian POWs last year before exchanging them instead. pic.twitter.com/V4ULBJPE37

— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 19, 2023

Russian state media: Putin visits command post in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don

Russian state media is reporting that Vladimir Putin has today visited a command post in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Russian state-owned news agency TASS said Putin held a meeting at a military command and control post in the Russian city.

It comes after Putin traveled to Russian-occupied Mariupol by helicopter on March 18, and visited Russian-occupied Crimea.

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⚡️Russian state media: Putin visits command post in Rostov-on-Don.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has held a meeting at a military command and control post in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Russian state-owned news agency TASS claimed on March 19.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 19, 2023

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⚡️Russian state media: Putin visits command post in Rostov-on-Don.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has held a meeting at a military command and control post in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Russian state-owned news agency TASS claimed on March 19.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 19, 2023

Updated at 10.28 GMT

Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and self-declared “enemy of Russian propaganda” has compared images of Putin behind his desk at his Security Council and the images coming out of Mariupol.

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Two photos: "Putin" at his Security Council and "Putin" in Mariupol.

Is he scared of his officials more than of Mariupol's "residents"? pic.twitter.com/qyufeOb9Ch

— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) March 19, 2023

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Two photos: “Putin” at his Security Council and “Putin” in Mariupol.

Is he scared of his officials more than of Mariupol’s “residents”? pic.twitter.com/qyufeOb9Ch

— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) March 19, 2023

Euan MacDonald, editor-at-large, for the New Voice of Ukraine site has also cast doubt on the footage – but his analysis is, from comparing the footage of new flats to previous footage – that “seemingly I’d say it’s probable that Putin (or as is traditionally said, “a man who looks like Putin”) was indeed in Mariupol last night.”

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Russian dictator Vladimir #Putin in currently Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of #Mariupol, meeting residents of new flats (whose old flats were destroyed by the Russian army) in the middle of the night. Surreal footage (if real) from Kremlin. But is it real? 🧵 pic.twitter.com/0PhKlWDj9F

— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) March 19, 2023

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Russian dictator Vladimir #Putin in currently Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of #Mariupol, meeting residents of new flats (whose old flats were destroyed by the Russian army) in the middle of the night. Surreal footage (if real) from Kremlin. But is it real? 🧵 pic.twitter.com/0PhKlWDj9F

— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) March 19, 2023

Dr Stephen Hall, lecturer in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics at the University of Bath has posted this footage of Putin in Mariupol. He states that “grateful” citizens featured in the video could not be genuine

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Amazingly it appears that Putin did visit Mariupol. It’s taken over a year to get close to the frontline. He drove around & spoke with residents. I still reserve judgement. Putin has many doubles & the ‘grateful’ residents were likely security personnel in civvies! pic.twitter.com/fQQxNFNqD7

— Dr Stephen Hall (@stephengfhall) March 19, 2023

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/stephengfhall/status/1637368148910284800?s=20″,”id”:”1637368148910284800″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”dda42306-454e-47fa-af23-c4ce0d9699e6″}}”>

Amazingly it appears that Putin did visit Mariupol. It’s taken over a year to get close to the frontline. He drove around & spoke with residents. I still reserve judgement. Putin has many doubles & the ‘grateful’ residents were likely security personnel in civvies! pic.twitter.com/fQQxNFNqD7

— Dr Stephen Hall (@stephengfhall) March 19, 2023

Emergency service workers extinguish a fire in a house after a Russian shelling in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Emergency service workers extinguish a fire in a house after a Russian shelling in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen from 24th brigadeâs drone team work near the frontlines of Toretsk, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen from 24th brigadeâs drone team work near the frontlines of Toretsk, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen from 24th brigade operate a BM-21 Grad near the frontlines of Toretsk, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ukrainian servicemen from 24th brigade operate a BM-21 Grad near the frontlines of Toretsk, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Lidiia (C) mourns over the coffin of her son Serhii Myronchykov, 32, a Ukrainian serviceman from “Da Vinci Wolves” battalion, killed near Bakhmut, during his funeral on March 18, 2023 in Hnidyn village, Kyiv region, Ukraine. Ukraine’s First Mechanized Battalion, known as “Da Vinci Wolves,” were until recently under the command of Dmytro Kotsiubailo, known as “Da Vinci” due to an affinity for art. Kotsiubailo was killed last week in Bakhmut. (Photo by Roman Pilipey/Getty Images)
Lidiia (C) mourns over the coffin of her son Serhii Myronchykov, 32, a Ukrainian serviceman from “Da Vinci Wolves” battalion, killed near Bakhmut, during his funeral on March 18, 2023 in Hnidyn village, Kyiv region, Ukraine. Ukraine’s First Mechanized Battalion, known as “Da Vinci Wolves,” were until recently under the command of Dmytro Kotsiubailo, known as “Da Vinci” due to an affinity for art. Kotsiubailo was killed last week in Bakhmut. (Photo by Roman Pilipey/Getty Images) Photograph: Roman Pilipey/Getty Images
A view of the area after shelling in the city of Khartsyzsk, Russian controlled territory, on March 18, 2023. Firefighters work at the building hit by shelling. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A view of the area after shelling in the city of Khartsyzsk, Russian controlled territory, on March 18, 2023. Firefighters work at the building hit by shelling. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukrainian army mechanics repair tanks at a hangar in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Ukrainian army mechanics repair tanks at a hangar in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Ukrainian forces outside the fiercely contested city of Bakhmut are keeping Russian units at bay so ammunition, food and medicines can be delivered to defenders, the army said on Saturday.

And in the latest claim to have inflicted heavy casualties, Kyiv said its troops had killed 193 Russians and injured 199 others during the course of fighting on Friday, Reuters reported.

Bakhmut has been largely destroyed in months of fighting, with Russia launching repeated assaults on the eastern Ukrainian city.

A military spokesperson, Serhiy Cherevaty, told the ICTV television channel:

We are managing to deliver the necessary munitions, food, gear and medicines to Bakhmut. We are also managing to take our wounded out of the city.

An honour guard soldier holds a portrait of a Ukrainian serviceman at his funeral in Kyiv after he was killed near Bakhmut
An honour guard soldier holds a portrait of a Ukrainian serviceman, Yuriy Gerasymchuk, at his funeral in Kyiv on Saturday after he was killed near Bakhmut. Photograph: Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA

Cherevaty said Ukrainian scouts and counter-artillery fire were helping keep open some roads into the city. As well as inflicting heavy casualties, pro-Kyiv forces shot down two Russian drones and destroyed five enemy ammunition depots on Friday, he added.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the claims.

Updated at 08.18 GMT

Russia’s strikes on Kramatorsk, which regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said killed two people and wounded 10 on Saturday, marked the second time the eastern city has been targeted in a week.

On Tuesday, one person died and three people were wounded after a strike on residential buildings, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kramatorsk is located in the eastern industrial region of Donetsk, parts of which have been controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists since 2014.

In April 2022, a missile strike killed about 60 people at the Kramatorsk train station, in one of the war’s deadliest attacks targeting civilians.

Moscow has been seeking to capture the entire region after declaring it part of Russia last year.

Kramatorsk residents clear debris from their apartment after the missile strike on Tuesday
Kramatorsk residents clear debris from their apartment after the missile strike on Tuesday. Photograph: Madeleine Kelly/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Putin visits occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to Russian state media

Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol, Russian state media reported on Sunday, in the Kremlin leader’s first trip to the Russian-occupied territories of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region since the start of the war.

Reuters reported that the visit came after Putin travelled to Crimea on Saturday in an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine, and just two days after the international criminal court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mariupol, which fell to Russia in May after one of the war’s longest and bloodiest battles, was Russia’s first major victory after it failed to seize Kyiv and focused instead on south-eastern Ukraine.

Putin flew by helicopter to Mariupol, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin. It is the closest to the frontlines Putin has been in the year-long war. Driving a car, Putin travelled around several districts of the city in the Donetsk region, making stops and talking to residents.

Vladimir Putin, centre, during his visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday
Vladimir Putin, centre, during his visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday. Photograph: EyePress News/Rex/Shutterstock

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation and Europe said Russia’s early bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was a war crime.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has made a number of trips to the battlefield to boost troop morale and discuss strategy, but Putin has largely remained inside Russia during the war.

Russian media reported on Sunday that Putin also met with the top command of his military operation in Ukraine, including Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff.

Updated at 11.41 GMT

Opening summary

Hello and welcome back to our continuing live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine. This is Adam Fulton with the latest developments.

Vladimir Putin has visited Mariupol, Russian media reported on Sunday, in the Russian president’s first trip to the Russian-occupied east of Ukraine since the war began.

Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter, the Tass news agency reported, and then toured the city, at times driving a car, as well as speaking with residents.

Moscow’s forces captured the city last May after bombarding it for more than 80 days in one of the war’s bloodiest battles.

More on that story soon.

In other developments as the war reaches day 389:

  • Russian strikes killed two people and wounded 10 in Kramatorsk on Saturday, the regional governor said, accusing Moscow of having used cluster bombs in the attack on the eastern Ukrainian city. Pavlo Kyrylenko said a park had been targeted and “a dozen residential buildings” damaged. Agence France-Presse reporters heard about 10 explosions go off nearly simultaneously and said they saw a woman die at the scene from her wounds. Soon after, another round of explosions was heard in a neighbourhood 2km away.

A woman beside a damaged car after the attacks in Kramatorsk
A woman beside a damaged car after the attacks in Kramatorsk. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images
  • Russia launched a series of attacks on Friday, according to the Ukrainian armed forces. Seven homes in the village of Veletenske in the Kherson region were destroyed and a nursery was damaged on Friday, but no one was injured, it said. The update, which the Guardian has not verified, also said 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones had been shot down, and that Ukrainian forces had “repelled more than 100 enemy attacks”.

  • Ukraine said some of the overnight drone attacks hit the relatively peaceful western region of Lviv. Dnipro was also targeted, as was Kyiv, where air defences shot down all attacking drones. Ukraine’s air force said 11 out of 16 drones were destroyed.

  • The Black Sea grain deal was renewed, according to parties to the agreement. Turkey and the UN announced the initiative was extended, but did not say for how long. A spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry said it had notified other parties that the deal was extended for 60 days, while a Ukrainian minister said the deal was extended for 120 days.

  • Another 880 Russian soldiers were reportedly killed on Friday, according to unverified totals published by the Ukrainian army. Its general staff said that it meant more than 164,000 Russian service personnel had been killed since the outbreak of war in February last year. Another five tanks, seven armoured combat vehicles and eight artillery systems were disabled by Ukrainian forces, it said in an update posted on Facebook.

  • Russia’s Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit about 30,000 new fighters by the middle of May, its founder has said. In an audio message on Telegram on Saturday, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that Wagner recruitment centres, which he said last week had opened in 42 Russian cities, were hiring an average of 500-800 people a day.

  • Russia would probably introduce wider conscription to boost its military requirements, the UK Ministry of Defence said. In its latest intelligence update, it said Russian Duma deputies introduced a bill to change the conscription age for men from the current 18-27 to 21-30. The law would probably be passed, it said, and come into force in January 2024.

Russian conscripts at a ceremony last year
Russian conscripts at a ceremony last year. Photograph: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters
  • Senior Ukrainian and US security officials met via video link on Saturday, with representatives of Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government asking for further assistance, including more equipment, weapons and ammunition. Zelenskiy joined the call at the end of the meeting and discussed his forces’ hopes to retake areas Russia has captured.

  • The US president, Joe Biden, said the international criminal court’s (ICC’s) arrest warrant for Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “justified”. “But the question is – it’s not recognised internationally by us either,” Biden said, referring to the US not being a member of the ICC. “But I think it makes a very strong point.”

  • The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, also welcomed the ICC’s decision, saying: “The international criminal court is the right institution to investigate war crimes … The fact is nobody is above the law and that’s what’s becoming clear right now.”

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, visited the annexed peninsula of Crimea to mark nine years since Russia seized it. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Putin visited an art school and a children’s centre. These locations appear to have been chosen in response to the ICC’s arrest warrant, which accuses Putin of being responsible for the abduction of children.

  • The Biden administration has quietly resumed deportations to Russia, an apparent reversal of the position adopted after Russia invaded Ukraine just over a year ago, when such removals were suspended, the Guardian has learned

Updated at 12.07 GMT

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