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Vladimir Putin's ex-wife's brutal assessment of Russian President: 'Wouldn't notice him'




Forces Minister: ‘Putin continues to prepare for an invasion’

World leaders have suggested that a rise in attacks between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists in the Donbas region are a possible ploy to give Russia reason to invade its neighbour. There are claims from both sides that shelling has increased in the region with Russian separatists describing it as a “large-scale provocation”. They accused Ukrainian government forces of opening fire on their territory ‒ forcibly taken from Ukraine in 2014 ‒ four times in the past 24 hours.

Ukraine says that, even though its forces have been targeted, it has not fired back.

The tensions come as Russia continues to carry out activity along its shared border with Ukraine, having deployed over 100,000 troops.

Russia denies claims it is preparing to invade Ukraine, but others say President Vladimir Putin wants to extend his country’s sphere of influence in its former territories.

While almost all of the attention has been placed on the potential for conflict, Putin’s personal life and its secretive nature have too been pushed under the spotlight.

Vladimir Putin: The Russian President's ex-wife described him as 'very unprepossessing'

Vladimir Putin: The Russian President’s ex-wife described him as ‘very unprepossessing’ (Image: GETTY)

Donbas: The contested region has been blighted by conflict since 2014

Donbas: The contested region has been blighted by conflict since 2014 (Image: GETTY)

The former KGB agent is famously close-mouthed when it comes to any aspect of his private life and family.

He once told a reporter, who asked about suggestions he was planning on marrying the gymnast Alina Kabayeva: “I am, of course, aware of the cliché that politicians live in glass houses.

“But even in these cases, there must be some limits.

“I always disliked people who go around with their erotic fantasies, sticking their snot-ridden noses into another person’s life.”

Despite his bid to keep a tight lid on his privacy, however, snippets of information have escaped him over the years.

JUST INPutin’s terrifying war against Ukraine begins

Russia: Putin has successfully kept his private life largely just that

Russia: Putin has successfully kept his private life largely just that (Image: GETTY)

In 2000, his then-wife Lyudmila Putina, an Aeroflot stewardess, revealed how they had met and how she was not impressed by his overall appearance.

They met through mutual friends in the Eighties and went on a blind double date to a theatre.

She said Putin was “poorly dressed” and “very unprepossessing”.

Lyudmila added: “I wouldn’t have paid any attention to him on the street.”

They married in 1983 but divorced in 2014.

She has spoken about their lives on a number of occasions, including during a 2002 biography of Putin, published in Foreign Policy, in which she revealed she had given birth to their first child alone.

She said she called a taxi to take her to the hospital because he was away on a business trip.

Upon his return, she claimed Putin ordered that the baby girl would be called Maria after his mother, even though his wife preferred Natascha.

Lyudmila said: “I was in tears.

“But then I realised there was no choice in the matter and my daughter was going to be Maria.”

Lyudmila is said to have become distraught when she learned that her husband was going to become acting president in 2000.


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Lyudmila Putina: They married in 1983 but later divorced in 2014

Lyudmila Putina: They married in 1983 but later divorced in 2014 (Image: GETTY)

Diplomacy: Putin and George W Bush pictured with their wives, 2003

Diplomacy: Putin and George W Bush pictured with their wives, 2003 (Image: GETTY)

An interview given by his daughters — Maria and Katerina — was later transcribed into a collection of interviews with Putin, his family and friends, called ‘First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self-Portrait by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’, and offers a snapshot of the family just as they entered the bubble of power.

In the book, 14-year-old Katerina complains that they have been taken out of school — now teachers come to the family home to teach her.

She said: “We have guards when we go to the movies.

“There’s a guy who sits there watching the movie, but I think he’s guarding us at the same time.

“Usually, we don’t even notice the bodyguards.

“Even when we go somewhere with our friends, they stay nearby, but they try not to get in the way.

“We’ve called them over to drink coffee with us a thousand times, but they don’t want to.”

Putin profile: He has been President for more than 17 years when his tenures are combined

Putin profile: He has been President for more than 17 years when his tenures are combined (Image: Express Newspapers)

She said she “flipped out when I heard that Papa was going to become acting president.”

Katerina added: “When Mama told me this, I thought she was joking.

“Then I realised that she wouldn’t joke about such a thing.”

Lyudmila admitted she “cried for a whole day” when she learned of Putin’s appointment, because, she said: “I realised that our private life was over.”

These transcripts offer rare glimpses of the family which has since reclined into anonymity.

Jens Stoltenberg: He said he was concerned Russia will use conflict in Donbas as reason to invade

Jens Stoltenberg: He said he was concerned Russia will use conflict in Donbas as reason to invade (Image: GETTY)

Meanwhile, talking about the ongoing small-scale conflict seen in the Donbas, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We are concerned that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine, there is still no clarity, no certainty about the Russian intentions.”

US President Joe Biden said Washington has “reason to believe that they [Russia] are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in”.

He said there is “every indication” that “they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine” and he believes an invasion will begin within “several days”.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the reported attacks in the eastern Donbas are “a blatant attempt by the Russian government to fabricate pretexts for invasion… this is straight out of the Kremlin playbook”.



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Read more: Ryan Garcia and Who is Ryan Garcia Net Worth


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'This is huge' Swedish Air Force jet deployed over Belarus border in threat to Putin




The Scandinavian country is not a member of NATO, but could be ready to trade in its neutral status in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of Stockholm’s decision to send a jet was revealed by twitter user Jamming.

They wrote: “Swedish Air Force Korpen active over Poland border area with Belarus.

“Sweden part of surveillance of Belarus and Ukraine!!!

“This is a huge political statement! Update on SwAF Korpen.”


The Gulfstream IV aircraft was tracked taking off from Linking airport and then flying towards the city of Grodno in western Belarus.

It was flying at an altitude of just under 12,000 metres at a speed of 836 kilometres per hour.

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, it is an “enhanced opportunity partner” of the military alliance.

The government also signed a statement in 2018 pledging to strengthen its defence cooperation.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties earlier this month for the country to join NATO.

She argued that such a move would further destabilise Europe.

Her statement came in the wake of threats from Moscow that NATO membership would bring “serious military-political consequences” for Sweden.

However, there is growing public support among Swedes for their country to join the transatlantic military alliance.

A poll conducted in late February by broadcaster SVT found that 41 percent of the public supported NATO membership, while thirty-five percent were against.

It was the first time an opinion study in Sweden had found more people in favour of the country joining NATO than were against it.



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Putin humiliated: Russia tries and fails to capture defiant Ukraine village for tenth time




Russia has tried and failed to capture the village of the Chornobaevka ten times, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Aleksey Arestovich. Videos shared by Ukrainian officials online showed the “tenth defeat of the Russian invaders in Chornobaevka”. The continued failures to capture the village comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that his country’s forces had “dealt powerful blows” to the Russian military.

Mr Arestovich told a press conference that Russian troops had tried to take Chornobaevka for the tenth time, but the assault again ended in failure.

Following this, the head of the nearby Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Vitaly Kim published a video showing “the defeat” as explosions erupt on the outskirts of the village.

The resolute village has become famous in Ukraine for its defence, as President Zelensky commended Chornobaivka last weekend for fending off six invasions at the time.

He said: “Ukrainian Chornobaivka will go down in war history. This is a place where the Russian military and their commanders have shown themselves for who they truly are – incompetent, capable of simply handing over their people for slaughter.

“Our military has annihilated the invaders near Chornobaivka six times.

“Six times, yet they keep coming back.”

JUST IN: Putin on brink of major RETREAT in Kyiv

Online users ridiculed the latest Russian failures and hailed the Ukrainian defiance, with one Reddit user remarking: “At some point, I think every military intelligence outfit looking at this must be wondering how bad the rot is in the Russian military.”

One user visavillem added: “So this is the 10th time. Are Russians trying to bait Ukrainians to waste ammo with some obsolete/broken equipment, or are they really so stupid, that they keep stepping on the same rake again and again?”

Another user on Reddit adfgqert posted: “The Ukrainian people have resolve and determination that is beyond what I think is normal.

“Beyond inspirational and they bring fighting for what they believe in to a new level for me.” 

This comes amid ongoing setbacks for Russian military forces in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn most of its helicopters from a strategic airport in Kherson, in southern Ukraine, according to satellite images.

Kherson has also been the site of several local protests against the occupying Russian soldiers.

The official said: “We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before.

“That would make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odesa.

“That would be a significant development, no question about that, in terms of the southern part of the war.” 


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