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Moscow, April 18 – Russian President Vladimir Putin has made an unannounced visit to two command posts in the “newly incorporated territories” from Ukraine, where he reviewed the progress of military operation against Ukrainian forces, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Putin travelled to the command centre of the ‘Dnieper’ battlegroup located “in the Kherson area” and received reports from the group’s commander, Colonel General Oleg Makarevich, and Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, the commander of Russia’s airborne troops, a Kremlin statement said, RT reported.
The President also made a trip to the Lugansk People’s Republic, where he visited the ‘Vostok’ (East) command centre of the National Guard, and discussed the situation in the area with top military officials, including Colonel General Aleksandr Lapin.
Putin’s surprise visit comes as Kiev prepares to launch a counteroffensive in which Western-supplied heavy tanks and new armored vehicles are expected to be involved. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal said on Monday that Kiev will start the operation “in the nearest future”.
The recent months of the Ukraine conflict have been marked by fierce fighting for the Donbass mining city of Artyomovsk, known to Ukrainians as Bakhmut.