On April 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin came to the Kherson region and the Luhansk People’s Republic, where he visited the headquarters of the Russian ‘Dnepr’ and ‘Vostok’ (East) groups od troops. This was his first trip to these regions.
Putin’s trips and meetings at the headquarters were not prepared in advance.
According to the press service of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin listened to the reports of the commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel-General Mikhail Teplinsky, commander of the Dnepr group of troops Colonel-General Oleg Makarevich and other military leadership in the Kherson region. The President asked the military to express their opinion on the situation in the Kherson and Zaporozhye directions and exchange information.
“I know that on behalf of the Chief of the General Staff and the Minister of Defense, Teplinsky was on the front line for a long time, he made a very thorough report, the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff highly appreciated it,” Putin said.
After the meeting in the Kherson region, the Russian President went to the LPR on board of a helicopter. He visited the headquarters of the “Vostok” grouping of the National Guard in the Luhansk People’s Republic, where he listened to the reports of Colonel-General Alexander Lapin and other high-ranking officers on the situation in this area.
Putin congratulated the servicemen on Easter and gave them copies of icon which belonged to “one of the most successful defense ministers of the Russian Empire.” The Holy Image of the Saviour Not Made by Hands was depicted on the banners of the Russian army, and it was placed above the gates of fortresses. Putin proposed the military commanders to take the icons to the troops.
In mid-March, the Russian President also visited the city of Mariupol, where he talked with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin on the restoration of the city. The head of state also met with residents of Mariupol.
Putin also held a meeting with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, and other military officials at the headquarters of a special military operation in Rostov-on-Don.
Putin’s personal visits of the regions which have recently became part of the Russian Federation are always important PR campaigns aimed to demonstrate that the Russian military is securing the regions and peace is returning there. On the other hand, they show that the head of state personally controls the situation. The recent visits to the military headquarters are likely dedicated to the upcoming Ukrainian counter offensive.