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Russia's Medvedev Says Visited Troops in Ukraine

Dmitry Medvedev (R front) visits a military training range for contract servicemen. POOL / TASS

Russia's former leader Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday he visited troops near the frontline in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, upon orders from President Vladimir Putin.

Several high-ranking Russian officials have visited occupied regions of Ukraine since Moscow's offensive began last year, including Putin, who paid an unannounced visit to the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol in March.

"On the instructions of the president, I visited a firing range near the contact line on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic," said Medvedev, who formerly served as president and prime minister.

"The servicemen are demonstrating excellent combat qualities of will, firmness and a general attitude to victory," Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Kremlin's Security Council, said in a video posted on social media.

He added that "over 325,000 people" had been recruited into the Russian Armed Forces since the start of the year — up from the figure of 280,000 he gave at the start of the month.

AFP was not able to independently verify these numbers.

Medvedev has been one of Moscow's most hawkish voices in support of the Ukraine offensive and often denounces the West in inflammatory posts on social media.

Russia claimed to annex Ukraine's regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in September 2022, but does not fully control any of them.

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