Donetsk, Mar 20 — DAN. The growing population of Mariupol has reached 280,000 by now, Donetsk People’s Republic Acting Head Denis Pushilin said on Monday.

“Given the rebuilding rate, people are returning faster than we expected, ” Pushilin said on Russia 24 channel. “At present, some 280,000 people live in the city.”

Russian passports are issued at four offices of the DPR Interior Ministry’s Migration Service and one office of the Multifunctional Public Services Center (MFC). The authorities plan to open five more MFC offices and scale up the work of Interior Ministry bodies, he added.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin said on Sunday that 35 new buildings comprising 2,500 apartments had been commissioned in Mariupol and that it was planned to commission half a million square meters of living space in the city by yearend.

On Sunday, President Vladimir Putin visited Mariupol for the first time. He toured the city in a car, inspected construction sites and met with city residents.*jk