Kremlin declines to comment on Putin’s absence

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, refused to comment on a report from independent news outlet Dozhd which said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been seen in Moscow for the last few days.

Putin, who had been away from the public eye for more than a week, postponed a planned meeting with Kazakh and Belorussian leaders last week.

According to Dozhd, sources say that the president is currently in his residence in Lake Valdai in Novgorod province. Peskov declined to comment when asked by the news outlet to confirm the story.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Kazakh government official told Reuters that Putin may have cancelled the summit his Kazakh and Belorussian counterparts due to illness. Contradicting this statement, Peskov told Reuters on Thursday that Putin, 62, is in good health.

Putin’s absence has led many to make various speculations ranging from his health, his grip on power in the Kremlin, and whether he was in Switzerland to watch his girlfriend give birth.

The Kremlin has so far denied the rumors.

According to a statement released by the Kremlin on Friday, Putin is scheduled to meet with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg on March 16.▪