After his trip to Crimea the day before, Putin went to Mariupol, where he met with the administration and residents of the city.
This is the first visit to the Donbass of a Russian leader since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
In Crimea, Putin met with the governor of Sevastopol, Razvozzhaev, and visited a children’s art and aesthetic center.
After the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest, the Russian public expected some kind of statements from him, especially in light of the fact that Crimea is preparing for defense.
However, no significant speeches followed.
Following these events, Putin went to Russian-occupied Mariupol, where he met with residents of the city.
Curiously, this time Putin himself drove the car. This is very unlike the cautious Russian dictator.
In this regard, many conspiracy theories arose on social networks that it was not Putin who visited Crimea and Mariupol, but his double.
Such conspiracy theories have been circulating on the Internet for a long time. Of course, Putin has doubles, but what we usually see on high-resolution documentary footage leaves no doubt – yes, this is really Putin. His face is lightly made up with foundation, but this is Putin.
With his visit to the occupied territories, especially on the eve of the visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Moscow, this step can be seen as an attempt to prove to the world that Putin is not afraid of arrest and front-line dangers.
At the same time, this act of the Russian president suggests that he is personally responsible for the defense of Donbass and Crimea.
An analogy arises when in the fall of 1943 Adolf Hitler visited his Werwolf bunker near the occupied Ukrainian Vinnitsa. After 4 months, fearing the approach of the Red Army, the Nazis blew up the entrance to the Fuhrer’s shelter. This may look symbolic as the UAF is planning an offensive this spring.
However, it is worth noting that the front line at the moment is almost 100 km from Mariupol.
Putin has tried his whole career to play macho, and he generally succeeded. This time, the aging dictator has decided to show that he, too, has balls, just like Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited Bakhmut where the fighting is taking place.