Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russian Defense Minister Visits Destroyed Ukrainian City Mariupol

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) in Mariupol. Russian Defense Ministry

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the war-battered city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, his ministry announced Monday, one year after his forces besieged the city, leveling it to the ground.

His visit comes as Russian forces are closing in on Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine that has become the stage of the longest-running battle of Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

The ministry said Shoigu, one of the highest-ranking officials to visit east Ukraine, had toured the destroyed port city to oversee reconstruction efforts.

Shoigu "inspected work carried out by the... Defense Ministry to restore infrastructure in Donbas," the ministry said, without specifying the timing of the visit.

He visited a medical center built by the military, a dispatch center of the emergency situations ministry as well as a newly constructed district with a dozen five-story residential buildings.

Russia launched a scorched-earth campaign against Mariupol at the start of its campaign last year, destroying the Azovstal steel works, which was the last holdout of Ukraine forces in the city.

Investigative teams linked to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have reported that Defense Ministry officials are profiting personally from reconstruction efforts in Mariupol.

The ministry's announcement comes one day after it said Shoigu had met with Russian soldiers deployed to a "command post in" eastern Ukraine.

Russia's grueling effort to capture Bakhmut has been spearheaded on the ground by the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

Its founder, Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, routinely criticizes the Defense Ministry in social media videos allegedly filmed from the front.

Analysts say that even though Bakhmut is one of the bloodiest battles of the war, any capture of the salt-mining city by Russia would offer Moscow little additional strategic advantage in Donbas.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more