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UKRAINE: Putin visits two regions, Russia presses assault on Bakhmut

VLADIMIR Putin has faced international condemnation after apparently visiting occupied areas of Ukraine as his forces stepped up their brutal use of heavy artillery in the devastated city of Bakhmut,

The Russian President was shown arriving in a military helicopter and greeting senior commanders in the footage broadcast on state television.

The Kremlin said Putin met troops at a command post in the southern Kherson region in his second visit to occupied Ukraine this year.

He then travelled to the headquarters of the Russian National Guard in eastern Luhansk to hear reports from his military leaders.

Both are areas which the Russian Federation claims to have annexed.

Russian troops retreated from the city of Kherson last November and have been reinforcing their positions on the opposite bank of the Dnipro river in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

It comes as meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Japan condemned Putin’s plan to station shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a Moscow ally which borders Ukraine.

It was the first time Russia has said it will station nuclear weapons on the territory of another country since the end of the Cold War three decades ago.

In a joint statement, foreign ministers from Britain, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, said: “Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are unacceptable.

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Naija Times