Russian president re-emerges in public after 10-day absence

Vladmir Putin has made his first public appearance in 10 days ending the growing speculations about his health and whereabouts.

AP reports that a smiling and healthy-looking Putin met with the Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev at the ornate Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg's, driving Atambayev around the palace's park before the talks, and as the Kyrgyz leader noted "the president of Russia not only walks, but speeds around."

The 62-year-old Russian leader was last seen in public on March 5, when he hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Although The Kremlin insisted that he continued holding official meetings after that, and released photos and video of Putin at meetings on national television, the Russian media suggested the images had actually been shot much earlier.

The Russian leader's decision to abruptly postpone a trip to Kazakhstan planned for last week fueled speculation that he was unwell or isolated by a palace coup even as a Swiss newspaper claimed that Putin had traveled to Switzerland, his reported girlfriend, former Olympic gold-winning gymnast Alina Kabayeva, had given birth to their baby.

All the allegations were denied by The Kremlin.

Putin's sudden disappearance from the public eye coincided with a moment of high tension in Russia's domestic politics as many preserved him to be responsible for the February 27th killing of top opposition figure Boris Nemtsov.


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