Putin visits Kherson: Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday, visited the headquarters of his troops fighting against Ukraine. This is the second visit of the Russian boss in the past one month. A video released by the Kremlin showed Putin visiting the command post for Russian forces in the southern Kherson region.
It showed Putin arriving by helicopter to receive reports from the top military brass about the combat situation. The Russian leader then moved by helicopter to the headquarters of the Russian National Guard of the eastern Luhansk region to hear reports from commanders.
In both locations, Putin congratulated the military on the Orthodox Easter that was celebrated Sunday and presented them with icons.
Notably, Russia annexed the Kherson and Luhansk regions along with the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in September in a move that was rejected by much of the world as illegal.
It was impossible to independently verify the footage of Putin’s visits to the two regions that were released by the Kremlin. The trip marked a second visit by the Russian leader to the areas that Russia occupied in Ukraine in as many months.
Ukraine is preparing for a new counteroffensive
Last month, Putin visited the Russian-held Sea of Azov port city of Mariupol, which was captured by Russian troops in May after two months of fierce fighting.
Putin’s trips to the military headquarters come as Ukraine is preparing for a new counteroffensive to reclaim the occupied territories.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned into a stalemate amid heavy fighting in the country’s east, particularly around the town of Bakhmut, which for 8 1/2 months has been the stage for the war’s longest and bloodiest fight.
Ukrainian officials have said they’re buying time by depleting Russian forces in the battle while Kyiv prepares a counteroffensive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has argued that if Russia wins the Bakhmut battle, it could allow Putin to begin building international support for a deal that would require Ukraine to make unacceptable compromises to end the war.
(With inputs from agency)