Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly visited security forces in regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed last year. This move occurred as the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers, who were holding a meeting in Japan, condemned a plan by Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Group of Seven (G7)
According to the Kremlin, Putin visited the Kherson and Luhansk regions and participated in a military command meeting in the former region. He also visited a national guard headquarters in the latter region. The Kremlin did not specify the date when the visits occurred.
The visit by Putin to these regions has drawn criticism from many international observers who view it as a provocative act that could escalate tensions in the region further.
When Putin traveled to Kherson, he was given updates on the state of affairs in the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions by high-ranking officers, including the airborne forces and the Dnieper army group.
Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Luhansk, situated in the eastern region, were three of the four areas declared annexed by Putin in September of the previous year. However, Ukraine and its Western allies did not acknowledge the annexations, and Russian forces only possess partial control over these regions.
Russian troops withdrew from the regional capital of Kherson last November and have been strengthening their positions on the opposite bank of the Dnipro river in anticipation of a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive.
In contrast to numerous Western leaders who have visited Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since Russian forces invaded 14 months ago, Putin has rarely visited the parts of Ukraine under Russia’s control.
The city of Mariupol and the Crimea region were visited by him just last month.
According to Russia, its special military operation in Ukraine, which began on February 24th last year, was necessary to safeguard its security against what it perceives as a hostile and aggressive West.
However, Ukraine and its Western allies claim that Russia is conducting an unprovoked war with the goal of seizing territory.
Despite a Russian winter offensive, its troops have been engaged in a series of battles in the east and south, where advances have been gradual and have come at a significant cost to both sides.
Following months of attritional warfare, a Ukrainian counter-offensive has been anticipated.
In a move to increase pressure on Ukraine and its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last month that Russia would deploy shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons in its ally Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine.
Russia claims that it was forced to deploy these weapons due to the expansion of the NATO military alliance towards its borders. This is the first time Russia has declared its intention to station nuclear weapons in another country since the end of the Cold War thirty years ago. This move appears to raise the stakes, at least symbolically, in the ongoing confrontation with the West over the war in Ukraine.
At a three-day meeting in Japan, the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers condemned Russia’s plan to station nuclear weapons in Belarus as “unacceptable.” In a communique, the ministers stated The statement that “Russia’s reckless nuclear rhetoric and its plan to station nuclear weapons in Belarus is not acceptable” was made.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has had devastating effects, causing tens of thousands of deaths, destruction of cities, and displacement of millions of people.
The conflict has also raised concerns about global food shortages due to disruptions in grain supplies. However, Russia’s recent interruption of inspections of ships carrying grain from Ukraine has been resolved, according to the Russian foreign ministry.
The inspections have resumed after being briefly paused, which threatened to shut down the Black Sea shipping corridor. The ministry cited Ukraine’s failure to follow agreed-upon procedures as the reason for the interruption. Meanwhile, the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Japan condemned Russia’s plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus as “unacceptable.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited two regions in Ukraine, which Russia had annexed last year. the Kremlin, Putin attended a military command meeting in the Kherson region, during which he was briefed by commanders of the airborne forces and the “Dnieper” army group., as well as other senior officers.
In addition, he paid a visit to a national guard headquarters in the Luhansk region. These three regions, including Zaporizhzhia in the east, were declared annexed by Putin in September 2022. The G7 foreign ministers, who were gathered in Japan, had denounced Russia’s intention to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus – a neighboring country of Ukraine and one of Russia’s closest allies – at the time of Putin’s visit.
According to the G7, Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are unacceptable. This marks the first time since the end of the Cold War three decades ago that Russia has said it would station nuclear weapons on the territory of another country.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, destroyed cities, and forced millions to flee their homes.
There have also been concerns about a global food shortage due to the disruption of grain supplies. Recently, Russia’s RIA news agency reported that inspections of ships moving grains from Ukraine have resumed after a pause that threatened to shut down the Black Sea shipping corridor.
The inspections were briefly halted due to Ukraine’s failure to observe agreed procedures, but the issue has been resolved. The UN-facilitated effort to permit secure Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain was at risk of termination as a result of Russia’s refusal to allow inspections of participating vessels in Turkish waters.