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Putin paid a surprise visit to Mariupol on Saturday evening, inspecting the city infrastructure and talking to local residents. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin accompanied the president during the visit and reported on the progress of construction and restoration work in the city and its vicinity, discussing new residential microdistricts, social, educational and health facilities. As part of the visit, Putin and Khusnullin inspected the territory of Mariupol airport. Khusnullin said that the airport building was severely damaged as there had been active fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the area, although the runway remained more or less intact. Mariupol, a city located on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov, was a hotbed of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine until it came under Russian control on April 21. Since then, Russia has been actively clearing the city’s port of mines and restoring civilian infrastructure.

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