Russian state media say Putin visits Mariupol

Russian state-run media say President Vladimir Putin has visited the occupied port city of Mariupol in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

It is Putin's first reported visit to an area of Ukraine occupied by Russia since it started its invasion last year. Russia unilaterally annexed the Donetsk region in September.

Sunday's media reports on the trip cited an announcement by the Russian presidential office.

Tass news agency said Putin flew to Mariupol by helicopter. Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who oversees urban development for the Putin administration, reportedly briefed the president on construction of housing and medical facilities in the area.

Tass also said Putin drove a car to inspect several locations in the city, and talked with local residents.

The agency said Putin also went to military headquarters in the southern Russian region of Rostov, which neighbors Ukraine and is close to the front. He received reports from the commander of all Russian troops in Ukraine, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

On Saturday, Putin traveled to Crimea. The peninsula was unilaterally annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

This comes as Ukraine appears poised to launch counteroffensives in the southern and eastern parts of the country in the near future.