What Vladimir Putin was doing on his first trip to Mariupol since its annexation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the occupied port city of Mariupol, his first trip to Ukrainian territory Moscow illegally annexed in September.

State television showed footage of him being shown around the city on Saturday night, meeting rehoused residents and being briefed on reconstruction efforts by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin.

So what inspired the president to make the trip and what exactly was he doing there? 

Here’s what you need to know.

Why did Putin go to Mariupol? 

Mr Putin’s trip marked the ninth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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Top former Russian general ‘dies suddenly’ the day after Putin cancelled trip to his factory

A former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine died ‘suddenly’ the day after Vladimir Putin abruptly cancelled a trip to the tank enterprise where he worked as an international sales ambassador. 

Alexei Maslov, 69, passed away on Christmas Day in a Moscow military hospital, the Uralvagonzavod plant announced.

From 2008 he has acted as Russia’s chief military representative to NATO, RBC reported. 

Maslov’s loss follows the ‘sudden death’ of Alexander Buzakov, 65, general director of Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg, in charge of building new submarines.

The FSB security service had formed an ‘investigative group’ into

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Putin says progress in Ukraine grain talks thanks to Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for mediating talks on the export of grain from Ukraine, saying there was some progress. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Putin that Tehran and Moscow need to stay vigilant against “Western deception”, calling for long-term cooperation between them, state TV reported on Tuesday. Read FRANCE 24’s blog below to see how the day’s events unfolded.  All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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