The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited headquarters of the Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.
A video released by the Kremlin early on Tuesday showed Mr Putin visiting the command post for Russian forces in the southern Kherson region. It showed Mr Putin receiving reports from the top military brass.
He then moved by helicopter to the headquarters of the Russian National Guard in the Luhansk region to hear reports about the situation there.
Russia took the Kherson and Luhansk regions into its fold along with the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in September in a move that was rejected by most of the world as illegal annexation.
It was impossible to independently verify the footage released by the Kremlin.
The trip marked a second visit by Mr Putin to the areas that Russia occupied in Ukraine in as many months.
G7 leaders ramp up pressure
Meanwhile, Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers vowed to intensify sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine as they wrapped up their meeting in Japan on Tuesday.
“We remain committed to intensifying sanctions against Russia, coordinating and fully enforcing them,” the G7 ministers said in a statement.
“There can be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities such as Russia’s attacks against civilians and critical civilian infrastructure.
“Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are unacceptable.”
The ministers also agreed to continue their utmost support for Ukraine.
The G7 ministers from Japan, the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and the European Union have underlined that their meeting in Karuizawa marked a crucial moment in the world’s response to both crises, which are seen as challenges to the post-Second World War rules-based international order.
Global efforts to confront the matters at the United Nations have been stymied by Chinese and Russian intransigence on the Security Council.
Leaders and foreign ministers of G7 countries, most recently France and Germany, have recently concluded visits to China, and there is growing worry after China recently sent planes and ships to simulate an encirclement of Taiwan.
Beijing has also been rapidly adding nuclear warheads, taking a tougher line on its claim to the South China Sea and painting a scenario of impending confrontation.
The G7 ministers said that peace and stability between China and Taiwan is “an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community”, and they called for “the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues”.
Associated Press Reporters – Press Association