The Kremlin claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Russian-held territory in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. His attendance at a conference where he heard briefings from military leaders suggests he also visited the Luhansk region of Ukraine. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, claimed the visit occurred on April 17; however, footage initially posted to the Kremlin website disproves this.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine visited the settlement of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region on Tuesday. The town of Avdiivka sits right on the front lines of the war.
In a video of Putin’s trip to Ukraine released by the Kremlin, Putin can be seen descending from a helicopter and being met by a man who is likely Col. Gen. Oleg Makarevich, a military commander.
After hearing that Mr. Putin would be visiting Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that Putin would be visiting “the occupied and ruined territories” of Ukraine “to enjoy the crimes of his minions for the last time.”
In the video, Russian airborne forces commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky and his deputy, Colonel General Makarevich, listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin give orders.
British intelligence and American military analysts have reported that Teplinsky has returned to his frontline post after being evacuated in January.
Also, in the video, Putin presents a replica of an icon he claims belonged to “one of the most decorated defense ministers of the Russian Army in the 19th Century.”
The next scene shows him talking to Colonel General Alexander Lapin, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Ground Forces after he has stepped out of a helicopter.
Russia’s top military brass, including Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, reportedly decided against joining the president on the trip to Luhansk to avoid the “big risk” of being together so near the front lines.