- Putin visits Ukraine, which is controlled by Russia
- Putin discusses the war with the leaders of Kherson
- It is not clear when the visit took place
- Putin is sitting next to General Teplinsky
April 18 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin visited military headquarters in Russia-controlled Ukraine, the Kremlin says, where he discussed the war with a general from Russia’s airborne forces who is said to have taken on a powerful new role in the invasion.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022, triggered the bloodiest European conflict since World War II.
Moscow claims to have annexed four Ukrainian regions, but its forces are waging a fierce artillery battle in eastern Donbass with heavy losses on both sides, while it was forced to withdraw in southern Kherson, which Putin visited.
Putin, 70, dressed in a heavy blue jacket, appeared on Russian state television as he descended from a military helicopter in Russian-controlled Ukraine, saluting top military leaders.
He did not say when the visit took place.
The Kremlin said Putin attended a meeting of the military leadership in the Kherson region. He heard reports from the commanders of the Airborne Forces, Army Group Dnieper and other senior officers about the situation in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, both of which Moscow declared part of Russia.
Russian forces withdrew from the city of Kherson last November and consolidated their positions on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River in anticipation of a Ukrainian counterattack.
“It is important for me to hear your views on how the situation is developing and to listen to you and exchange information,” Putin told the leaders.
Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, commander of Russia’s Airborne Forces, sat to Putin’s right while Colonel General Oleg Makarevich sat to Putin’s left.
British military intelligence said on Sunday that Tblinsky had been given a key role in the war.
British military intelligence said that “Tyblinsky, commander of the Russian Airborne Corps, has likely returned to a key role in Ukraine”. “Teplinsky is probably one of the few senior Russian generals who is widely respected by the ranks.”
Putin also visited the headquarters of the National Guard in Ukraine’s Luhansk region in the eastern Donbass, which Moscow has also claimed it has annexed along with the neighboring Donetsk region.
Putin was seen presenting soldiers with a copy of the icon.
“The head of state also congratulated the soldiers on Easter and gave them copies of the icons as a gift,” the Kremlin said.
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on April 16th.
Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Jacqueline Wong
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