Putin visits Ukraine’s Kherson and Luhansk: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the military headquarters in the eastern regions of Ukraine, which are partly occupied by Russia, in his second visit to the region in as many months.

Putin attended a military command meeting in the southern Kherson region, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, and heard reports on the situation there and in the Zaporizhia region from commanders of the airborne forces and the “Dnieper” army group as well as other senior officers.

He also visited National Guard headquarters in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region.

The Kremlin also released a video of the visit, showing Putin taking a helicopter to Luhansk, but did not say when any of the meetings took place. On Sunday, Putin was in Moscow for a meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu.

Kherson and Zaporizhia are among four Ukrainian regions Russia annexed last September, although it did not fully control any of the areas, in a move condemned as illegal by Kyiv and its allies.

In November, the Russian military retreated from Kherson, the regional capital and the largest city it had captured since its February 2022 invasion. Troops have since been reinforcing their positions on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River in anticipation of a renewed counteroffensive from Ukraine.

Russian and Ukrainian forces are currently involved in an intense battle for control of eastern Bakhmut, a town once known as a centre for salt mining but now in ruins.