Putin paid a surprise visit to Mariupol on Saturday evening, inspecting the city infrastructure and talking to local residents, the Kremlin said. 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. The facility is currently being used for military purposes, the senior official said, adding that the closest civil airports are located in the Russian cities of Taganrog and Rostov-on-Don, over 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) away. Meanwhile, the road linking Mariupol and the city of Donetsk was repaired in 2022 and enlarged to four lanes, Khusnullin said. 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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