Russian President Vladimir Putin has canceled his annual year-end press conference, fueling suspicions over his health concerns or issues over struggles in his invasion of Ukraine.
No reason for the abrupt end of the event was provided in the brief statement from a Kremlin official.
— New York Post (@nypost) December 12, 2022
“As for the big press conference, yes, it won’t happen before the New Year,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday.
“But we hope that the president will still find an opportunity to talk with [journalists], as he regularly does, including during foreign [visits],” Peskov added.
For the first time in at least a decade, Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t hold his traditional year-end press conference.https://t.co/PxU5knHjFB
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) December 12, 2022
Past events have served as a major focus of Putin's power and influence.
"The annual event has in the past run on for hours, offering Putin the opportunity to display his mastery of policy and his grip on power on live national TV. The event often had a festive atmosphere, with regional journalists holding up signs to catch Putin’s attention. Surprise questions were, however, a rarity," Politico reported.
"Putin, who turned 70 in November, is also at the center of intense speculation over his health — and was seen swaying on camera in a public appearance earlier this week. Aides have repeatedly denied that he is unwell," it added.
Putin has endured more than poor health issues. Since his nation's invasion of Ukraine in February, he has drawn the attention of world leaders who have opposed his oppression of the former Soviet Republic.
Despite being outnumbered and under-resourced, Ukraine has defended itself while garnering world support to resist Putin's efforts.
The concerns add to high levels of unrest within Russia over citizens who oppose the war and Putin's authoritarian leadership.
Source: New York Post