Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold his traditional year-end press conference for the first time in at least a decade as Russian troops continue to lose ground in Ukraine.
“As for the annual press conference, yes, there won’t be any before the New Year,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, adding that the president was still expected to speak to reporters, also during visits abroad.
No date has yet been set for Putin’s New Year’s address to the nation, Peskov added.
The annual event has in the past lasted for hours, giving Putin the opportunity to display his mastery of politics and his grip on power on live national television. The event often had a celebratory atmosphere, with regional journalists holding up signs to get Putin’s attention. Surprise questions were rare, however.
Putin, who turned 70 in November, is also at the center of intense speculation about his health – and was seen swaying for the camera during a public appearance earlier this week. Aides repeatedly denied he was feeling unwell.
Russian troops continue to suffer setbacks in Ukraine nearly 10 months invading the country. The British Ministry of Defense said today that Ukraine has liberated approximately 54% of the territory captured by Russian forces since February 24.